Kidnapper’s anger at jury verdict
A Melbourne tradie, who broke into his boss’s home, tied up his wife and kidnapped their children, has reacted with anger as a jury returned guilty verdicts.
The jury returned their verdicts on Wednesday after three days of deliberation in the County Court of Victoria.
Jiangang Ji, a plasterer, has pleaded guilty to five charges, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated burglary and car theft, but denied three related charges, including the common assault of the wife while she was restrained.
The court was told Ji had worked for the man for two years but claimed he had snapped under constant verbal abuse and psychological pressure.
Prosecutor Kristie Churchill said Ji knew where his boss lived after working on their property seven or eight times in the past and waited until the man had left for work in the early hours of August 23, 2021.
Armed with a knife and duct tape, he broke into the home and used the tape to tie the wife’s ankles and wrists before covering her mouth and eyes.
“You could imagine the sheer terror of being confronted by a strange man in the early hours of the morning … gagged and restrained,” Ms Churchill said in her closing remarks.
“(She) gave evidence about what was no doubt a traumatic event … what she described is a nightmare and would stay with you.”
Ji left her at the home, placing their two young children in the boot of the family’s Mercedes-Benz and driving to his home in Mitcham.
Police were alerted after the wife, still restrained, managed to raise the alarm after flagging down passers-by for help.
Just after 7pm, about 12 hours after the children were abducted, Ji was arrested at his home while loading them back into the car.
During his record of interview, he told police he “hated” his boss and wanted to teach him a lesson.
“As soon as I did it, I regret what I have done and I realise how serious kidnapping kids (was),” he said.
The jury was told Ji had admitted to making a ransom demand during his interview but claimed it was only to “scare” his boss.
“Give me $1m, I’ll give the kids back, otherwise I’ll destroy the car and the kids,” he said.
Ji reacted by shaking his head and muttering angrily as the jury found him guilty of the three remaining charges, including assaulting his boss’s wife.
The court was told that while she was tied up, Ji applied force to her stomach with the knife, with doctors later discovering an 11.5cm abrasion.
His barrister, Carmela Pezzimenti, had argued that Ji did not assault the woman, saying “nothing has been held back” during his interview.
“(He’s pleaded not guilty) for one reason and one reason alone because he did not commit these offences,” she said.
As the jury left the room, Ji slammed headphones he’d been wearing for a Mandarin translator to explain the proceedings into the court’s dock.
Ji will return to court on August 2.