Fish and chip shop owner on murder plot charges denied bail

Joe Palermo, pictured at Menniti Seafoods, after a break-in at the store around Christmas 2012.
Joe Palermo, pictured at Menniti Seafoods, after a break-in at the store around Christmas 2012. Blainey Woodham

A TWEED Heads fish and chip shop manager who is accused of plotting the murder of the store's landlord has had his bid for freedom rejected.

Joseph Palermo, 36, had his bail application heard on Wednesday in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Queensland Police allege Palermo, along with his co-accused Trent Daniel Habershon, 25, were planning to kill the landlord after they intercepted concerning phone conversations between the two.

It is understood a dispute between Palermo and the landlord had occurred after he was locked out of his seafood shop over unpaid rent.

Police caught the two men outside the landlord's home in the Brisbane suburb of Clayfield during an early morning sting in January this year.

A police search of their car uncovered a shotgun, two large zip ties, a knife, a baton and printed emails detailing the landlord's movements.

Defence barrister Andrew Hoare told the court the landlord was worth more to his client alive than dead because of a civil claim that was worth about $1.5 million to his client.

However, he conceded his client faced a lengthy jail sentence if he was found guilty at trial of the conspiracy to murder charge.

"I do not want to put a price on anyone's life but it is clear my client wants the landlord to remain very much alive given the strength of the civil matter," he said.

"My client would have great difficulty in obtaining any money he may or may not be awarded if the person who the claim is against was to die.

"It is unjust for my client to remain in prison while the police re-build and adjust a case against him."

Crown Prosecutor Amanda Robinson told the court the case against Palermo and his co-accused was extremely strong.

"His co-accused Trent Daniel Habershon was refused bail earlier this year based on the strength of the prosecution's case," she said.

"Palermo has a history of violence and if released could finally execute his initial plan.

"If his is released the consequences for the landlord could be dire."

Justice Peter Applegarth agreed the risks were too high and denied the application.

"There are a series of telephone conversations between the two men that could form the basis of intent," he said.

"When he was arrested he told police the shot gun found in the car was acquired earlier in the week simply to go rabbit shooting.

"Well, I do not believe he went to the landlord's house in the middle of the night with the sole intention of shooting rabbits."

The case against both men is listed for mention again next month.

Topics:  court crime

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