Freedomroo – Accessory to murder accused refused bail

Employee takes cheeky gibe at CEO Christine Holgate

A woman charged with assisting with the murder of Simon Middleton last month has been refused bail after it was alleged she took part in conversations about the shooting before it occurred.

Amanda Jane Draganoff, 50, who was arrested and charged on Friday with accessory to murder, fronted Elizabeth Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Benjamin Sale said there were no special circumstances in the case in order to grant home detention.

“If the discussions have been had between Mr and Mrs Draganoff are along the lines of contacting others about speaking to witnesses … that concerns me,” the magistrate said.

Her defence lawyer Anthony Allen said his client was eligible for home detention and argued she was not present at the time of the murder.

But the police prosecutor opposed any type of bail, including home detention.

“She has connections where she can exercise those connections if required should she be released on any form of bail,” he said.

“It’s too great a risk.”

He said dashcam footage audio files recorded conversations between Ms Draganoff and her husband Matthew Istvan Draganoff, 44, who has also been charged over the murder, proved she knew of the planned attack on Mr Middleton.

The prosecutor claimed the defendant was part of a “back and forth exchange” on a number of occasions, and was part of a conversation on March 21 when a 30-30 rifle was discussed, the same gun that was used at the scene of the crime.

The court also heard there was another conversation on March 7 — the day before the shooting — while they were scoping the area about disconnecting power and water as well as CCTV footage around the victim’s address.

While she was not present at the time of the shooting, the prosecutor said she made comments to a witness at 1:50am the day of the incident saying: “Well, that’s the job done”.

As the prosecutor spoke, the accused, who appeared via video link, was seen hanging her head and heard breathing heavily.

She later started crying and was seen wiping her eyes throughout the hearing.

The defendant also interjected during the hearing.

Mr Allen said his client’s alleged role in the incident did not make her a great enough risk to the public.

He also said she had never been in any trouble with the law before.

The magistrate said he was “struggling to see” how the defence’s argument justified the special circumstances needed in order to grant bail.

Mr Allen then argued that hardship would be inflicted on the accused’s three children, whose father is also in custody, as well as on the couple’s firefighting foam manufacturing company.

“This is the family’s sole source of income,” he said.

“They have contracts that need to be fulfilled.

“The turnover for the business is $2 million a year. The business will shut down if she’s not operating it.

“This is a case where special circumstances exist given all of the personal matters.”

After the magistrate’s decision, supporters for Ms Draganoff hugged each other outside of court and cried.

They hurled abuse at reporters as they left the court, telling them to “f**k off” and “get a life”.

Ms Draganoff was the third person charged over the murder Mr Middleton, 49, who was shot out the front of a Brady Street home in Virginia in the early hours of March 8.

He was found dead at the scene when police and paramedics responded to the incident.

Previously two men, Mr Draganoff, of Virginia and Matthew Harmati, 29, of Lewiston, were charged with murder.

Late last month, Major Crime Detective Inspector Brett Featherby said investigators believed the premises where Mr Middleton was shot was under surveillance prior to the murder.

“The murder was planned, it was targeted and they were there with the intention of causing serious harm or murdering Simon that night,” he alleged.

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