Paul Pisasale arrives at Brisbane Magistrates Court earlier this month.
Paul Pisasale arrives at Brisbane Magistrates Court earlier this month.

How Paul Pisasale ‘returned prostitute’s favour’

FALLEN Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale was helping his prostitute lover to extort her ex-boyfriend by posing as a private detective in a phone call intercepted by police, court documents allege.

Pisasale, 66, had a "sexual transaction" with the Chinese-born Yutian Li on January 9, 2017 when she visited Brisbane for a week and worked as a prostitute, prosecutors allege.

Details of the alleged tryst were revealed in a document tendered by prosecutors this month in Brisbane's District Court, where Li is awaiting trial on a charge of extortion.

During the transaction, Pisasale allegedly offered to help Li after she told him she was depressed after having broken up with her Chinese taxi driver boyfriend from Sydney.

The court document alleges that, while driving to the Gold Coast with Li the next day, Pisasale confirmed her ex-boyfriend was married, calling him under the pretence he was conducting a phone survey.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale was clad in a dressing gown when he resigned last year.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale was clad in a dressing gown when he resigned last year.

According to an intercepted phone call, Li told Pisasale "you needed to punishing my ex-boyfriend (sic)".

Pisasale replied: "Yes we're gonna do that. You don't want to tell too many people."

Investigators later recorded a call in which Pisasale, posing as a private investigator, allegedly told the ex-boyfriend he had been hired to find out the truth and his probe had cost Li almost $10,000.

Prosecutors allege that Pisasale threatened the ex-boyfriend to pay the investigation costs or face a $200,000 "very public" lawsuit.

Li later told police she was not actually owed money, but was "struggling" and believed her ex-boyfriend should be punished for lying to her about being married.

Prosecutors also allege Pisasale called local solicitor Cameron James McKenzie, 36, and told him about Li and how he had called her ex-boyfriend pretending to be a private investigator.

Pisasale allegedly told McKenzie he wanted to get about $7000 for Li.

Prosecutors allege that McKenzie then emailed a letter of demand for $8400 to the ex-boyfriend, who complained when approached by authorities. Pisasale and McKenzie have also been charged with extortion.

In a police statement, Li made admissions to the offending, according to prosecutors.

 

Paul Pisasale outside Brisbane Magistrates Court earlier this month
Paul Pisasale outside Brisbane Magistrates Court earlier this month

 

McKenzie also made certain admissions to the offending, prosecution documents state.

The extortion charge details were outlined in an application by prosecutors that secured more time to present an indictment against McKenzie.

McKenzie's lawyers resisted the delay, saying the charge had hurt his career. Attempts to reach Pisasale for comment were unsuccessful.

Barrister Joshua Fenton, who is representing Li, argued against delaying the matters in court, saying Li was had very poor English and "as a matter of economic necessity she is doing some unpleasant things which are necessary to keep going here".

"She wishes to return to China but these charges are preventing her from doing so and the longer they go on the more unpleasant is her economic situation," he said.

The prosecution's outline of the extortion charges alleges that Li met her ex-boyfriend while he was working as a taxi driver and she was visiting Sydney on a tourist visa.

They were in a relationship between February and December 2016 and went on overseas holidays to countries including Bali and the Maldives, the document states.

However, her ex-boyfriend was married at the time of the relationship and towards the end of 2016 the relationship ended. Li moved to Melbourne and applied for a student visa, it continues.

It was while waiting for the visa to be approved in January 2017 that she flew to Queensland and met with Pisasale.



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