‘Cut off limbs’ threat in WA building row

Stock image.
Stock image.

THREATS to “cut off limbs”, stalking and intimidation were allegedly used to extort money from building contract clients following a series of disputes, a Perth court has heard.

Talbot James Le Page, 46, his employee Pasquale Forgione, 51, and Piotr Richard Clements, 48, are on trial in the West Australian District Court charged with a string of offences involving six complainants.

A fourth man, Sergio Demali, also features heavily in the case, but Judge Michael Gething told the jury he was not on trial.

“You will, however, hear a lot of evidence about his involvement in the alleged offences,” Judge Gething said.

“You must not speculate as to why he’s not before you.”

The court heard Le Page was the sole director of building company Turquoise Developments and allegedly procured Regal Corporate Solutions, led by Clements and Demali, to collect perceived outstanding debts from clients.

But prosecutor Paul Usher said their attempts included “threats, harassment, stalking, extortion and intimidation”.

Mr Usher said in one case a woman terminated her home renovation contract with Turquoise Developments amid a dispute, which prompted Regal Corporate Solutions to get involved.

After she went overseas, her brother was approached and Demali told him he had “ties to Mick Gatto”, the court heard.

Mr Usher said there were other threats through the woman’s associates, including her lawyer, and she felt intimidated.

In a separate case, two brothers allegedly faced similar aggression.

Demali allegedly told one of the men that he and his associates were “very f***ing dangerous people” and when they had a dispute people “lose body parts”.

Forgione allegedly described Demali and Clements as “attack dogs” who never gave in.

Demali also told the man he was “skating on thin ice”.

“We can make your life hell and never go away. Your family will never be safe from us,” he allegedly said.

Clements allegedly told the man they were not scared of bikies, saying: “We cut off limbs too. That happens to people who cross us.”

He later told police Regal “just pursued things vigorously”.

Mr Usher told the jury the trial was not about the building disputes.

“This is not about who owes who … (but) it does set the context,” he said.

Clements’ lawyer Seamus Rafferty said his client’s defence was simple – he did not make any threats, try to extort anything or “pursue, stalk or attempt to intimidate”.

Mr Rafferty described the state’s case as largely circumstantial and said engaging in criminal behaviour was the last thing a person who wanted their business to succeed would do.

Le Page’s defence counsel Michael Tudori said one complainant was a “disgruntled customer” who “rounded up” the others.

“What’s the easiest way to not pay your bills?” he asked the jury.

Forgione’s defence counsel Linda Black described him as “the sensible one” and said it was unfair that he was on trial over his attendance at one meeting.

“Don’t tar him with anyone else’s conduct,” she said.

The trial continues.