Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara have pleaded not guilty to murdering the young man in Padstow, in the city’s southwest, in May 2014.
On the opening day of the NSW Supreme Court trial, crown prosecutor Chris Maxwell QC told the 15-member jury that on 26 May that year the young man’s body was spotted out at sea by fishermen, wrapped in a surfboard bag and tied up in a blue tarpaulin.
Mr Maxwell said the body was found six days after Mr Gao walked into the storage shed with McNamara, followed closely by Rogerson.
The trio’s movements in and out of the shed were caught on CCTV and a post-mortem examination later revealed Mr Gao had been shot twice in the chest.
“It is the crown case that Mr Gao was shot and killed during the period after he entered unit 803 at around 1.46pm on the 20th of May, and the point when he was dragged out by both accused at around 2.18pm,” Mr Maxwell said.
He added that the reasons that led the deceased to walk into that shed, and the reasons why the two accused were with him, would be the subject of much of the evidence during the trial.
“What is abundantly clear, however, is that Mr Gao was shot dead behind closed doors at a point in time during that approximate 30 minutes,” Mr Maxwell said.
Mr Maxwell conceded the Crown could not establish which of the accused pulled the trigger.
But he said the jury needed only be satisfied that the two men were part of an agreement to kill or very seriously injure Mr Gao in order to deliver guilty verdicts against both.
It is alleged that Mr Gao had met McNamara, who was working as a private investigator, when he was engaged to do some Cantonese interpreting in a case involving drugs in 2013.
Mr Maxwell said prosecutors would allege Mr Gao’s role in the “massive” deal was to drop off more than 2.5kg of ice at the Padstow meeting, and that this was taken from him by Rogerson and McNamara after Mr Gao was shot.