IT has been more than 14 months since Killian Reynolds was rammed off the road, chased down, abducted, bashed and stripped naked before one of his alleged kidnappers was stabbed to death inside a unit at Hamilton South.
But on Wednesday afternoon, detectives went back to the unit where the chaos occurred on March 8, 2019, and charged 32-year-old Daniel Mercer over the kidnapping and bashing of Mr Reynolds.
Mr Mercer, unlike his now co-accuseds Timothy Onslow and Brendan Cook, is not accused of ramming Mr Reynolds off the road in Donald Street and bundling him into a car. And he is not accused of repeatedly striking him in the head and stripping him naked.
Instead, detectives allege that while a naked and bleeding Mr Reynolds was sat in a chair at Mr Mercer's unit in Coady Street, Mr Mercer stood over him with a machete and said words to the effect of: "Don't even think about f---ing going anywhere, don't f---ing move."
That allegation stems directly from an induced statement Mr Reynolds gave in March, a year after the alleged kidnapping and two months after the DPP withdrew the manslaughter charge against him in relation to the death of one of the other alleged kidnappers, 51-year-old Valentino Taufaao, known as "Malou".
And it was that delay in identifying Mr Mercer and the circumstances in which the statement was made that solicitor Matthew Unwin jumped on when applying for bail on behalf of Mr Mercer in Newcastle Local on Thursday.
"These are circumstances in which the co-accused were arrested some time ago," Mr Unwin told Magistrate Ron Maiden. "There was no mention of Mr Mercer. "There was an induced statement provided and that was the first time Mr Mercer's name was mentioned, some one year and one day after the event."
Mr Unwin said there would be issues in relation to the "honesty and accuracy" of Mr Reynolds induced statement and told Mr Maiden there was nothing to corroborate Mr Reynolds' version that Mr Mercer was there during the abduction.
"We're relying on the version of events given by one person in circumstances where he was a known heavy drug user and he had been violently assaulted to the head," Mr Unwin said.
Mr Maiden agreed with Mr Unwin and said there was a "serious concern" about the strength of the prosecution case.
He granted Mr Mercer bail on strict conditions, including a curfew and daily reporting to police.
The matter will return to court in July.
Mr Cook and Mr Onslow remain before the courts and will next appear in June.