A KOROIT man accused of kidnapping Warrnambool siblings from the Port Fairy Folk Festival and then attempting to abduct the woman has been committed to stand trial.
Russell Ian Payne, 41, yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charges in Warrnambool Magistrates Court.
Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt committed Mr Payne to stand trial on all the charges and remanded him in custody.
The case was adjourned to a directions hearing in Geelong County Court on November 23.
It is expected that Mr Payne will stand trial in Warrnambool County Court in April next year.
Warrnambool woman Naomi Madison, 21, gave graphic evidence at the committal hearing on Thursday, followed by evidence from her brother, two friends and a police officer yesterday.
Acting Sergeant James Van England explained how he and another officer had received information about a reported abduction from police communications, intercepted Mr Payne and arrested him for drink-driving.
Under cross-examination from defence counsel Russell Page, Acting Sergeant Van England said he was involved in discussions with a police sergeant which led to Mr Payne being released from custody while further investigations were undertaken about the abduction allegations.
Acting Sergeant Van England said there had been a debrief about the incident and when asked by Mr Klestadt whether the situation might have been handled better, the officer said: “absolutely, your honour”.
Ms Madison told the court on Thursday that she and her 16-year-old brother went to the folk festival with a friend after she finished work at 10pm on March 10.
She said they missed a ride home early the next morning and decided to ride with Mr Payne from Port Fairy to Warrnambool, believing he was a security guard working for the Moyne Shire.
However, Mr Payne pulled over on the Princes Highway on the western outskirts of Dennington and left her brother on the side of the road.
Ms Madison said she jumped from the car after Mr Payne told her “I’m taking you”.
The court heard she leapt out as the car drove off, causing injuries to her ankles, left knee, left side of her head, left shoulder and right elbow.
“My thinking was that I would prefer to jump out of a moving car rather than wait and see what was going to happen to me,” Ms Madison said in her statement.