The brother of cricket legend Stuart Macgill’s partner has been committed to stand trial over the retired leg spinner’s alleged kidnapping near his Sydney home.
Marino Sotiropoulos, the sibling of MacGill’s girlfriend Maria O’Meagher, was charged with a number of offences after the ex-Test star was allegedly bundled into a car in Cremorne on Sydney’s lower North Shore on April 14 last year.
MacGill was then allegedly driven 60km to a two hectare property in Bringelly, in the city’s south-west, as part of an alleged ransom plot.
Mr Sotiropoulos faced Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday, where prosecutors dropped a charge of participating in a criminal group, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Stuart MacGill’s pictured with his partner Maria O’Meagher, whose brother has been committed to stand trial for the cricketer’s alleged kidnapping last year
His other charges – take/detain in company with intention to get an advantage, supplying a prohibited drug and stalk/intimidate intending to cause fear/physical harm – were upheld.
Mr Sotiropoulos was also committed to stand trial.
NSW Police will allege in court that Mr Sotiropoulos, 46, confronted MacGill near his home at Cremorne about 8pm on April 14.
Police will allege that during the street confrontation, two other men allegedly appeared and forced MacGill into a car.
He was then allegedly driven to the property where he was allegedly held for an hour, assaulted, threatened with a gun, and asked to hand over money.
MacGill was then allegedly drive to Belmore, in Sydney’s southwest, where he was released.
MacGill (pictured) was allegedly kidnapped near his home in Sydney’s lower North Shore last April
MacGill and his partner Maria O’Meagher pictured at Aristotle’s, the Neutral Bay restaurant they ran together until it closed in June 2021
In total, six men, including Mr Sotiropoulos, have been charged over the alleged snatching.
Police have said MacGill was not involved and was ‘purely’ a victim of crime.
MacGill and Ms O’Meagher formerly ran the popular Aristotle Greek restaurant together in Neutral Bay until it closed in June last year.
There is no suggestion of any involvement by Ms O’Meagher whatsoever.
Mr Sotiropoulos will appear in the District Court next month, when he is due to be arraigned and enter a plea.
MacGIll was allegedly stripped naked and beaten until he blacked out in a decrepit shack by captors who threatened to cut off his fingers if he didn’t hand over $150,000 in what police say was a botched cocaine deal that MacGill had nothing to do with.
The leg-spinner told A Current Affair last year he had introduced a man called ‘Sonny’ to Sotiropoulos at Aristotle’s in Neutral Bay, which he ran with Ms O’Meagher.
‘We consider ourselves to be the innocent parties in this one. Part of hospitality is making sure the room works. We introduce people to other people all the time,’ he told the program.
‘We introduce people to other people as a matter of building, generating a bit of heat around the venue and that’s pretty much all you need to know.’
The brother of MacGill’s partner, Maria O’Meagher (pictured), has been committed to stand trial over his alleged kidnapping in April 2021
When asked how he knew Sonny, MacGill said: ‘He was somebody we met through the restaurant and that’s all I’m pretty much prepared to say about that.’
Mr Sotiropoulos allegedly tried to supply Sonny with 2kg of cocaine, worth about $660,000, but there was an argument over the payment – which allegedly prompted Mr Sotiropoulos to demand $150,000 in payment from MacGill for introducing them.
‘I initially met him when he came in making inquiries about buying a restaurant,’ MacGill told police in a statement tendered in court.
‘I’ve known Sonny for about three to four years, he’s friends with some of my friends. He would even give me Christmas presents and buy Maria flowers.
‘Sonny was also a drug dealer and had said on occasion, ‘There’ll never be any problems when I’m around’.’
MacGill said he never had anything to do with Sonny’s drug dealing and could no longer find him.
Ex-Test star MacGill has separately faced his own charges of allegedly verbally abusing a Sydney bar owner in February this year
The ex-Test star has separately faced his own charges of allegedly verbally abusing a Sydney bar owner in February this year.
MacGill and friend Stephen Kerlin, 54, were charged following an incident outside a Millers Point home in central Sydney last month.
MacGill was charged with intimidation and using offensive language in a public place when he handed himself into Day Street Police Station in central Sydney on February 19.
In March MacGill’s lawyer appeared in court to ask for his bail conditions to be varied so that he could contact Kerlin because the former Test star was a person ‘with a limited support network’.
‘If you’ve been kidnapped as police allege he was, there is serious trauma, his best mate provided him with emotional support… that is who is getting him through this,’ lawyer Joseph Correy told Sydney’s Downing Centre court.