Why man showed bum in court

A man accused of ram raid attacks on luxury boutiques made a bold move in court in a bid to prove a point to the magistrate.

A man allegedly involved in a series of ram raids targeting luxury fashion retailers across Melbourne bared half his bottom in a courtroom in a bid to prove he wasn’t involved.

Ben Agostino appeared via videolink in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday charged with 42 offences including burglary, attempted burglary and theft spanning from November 2020 to March 2021.

Police allege he stole an “assortment of clothing and handbags” worth $108,483 from Bottega Veneta in Melbourne, and pinched 22 handbags worth $72,860 from Berluti as well clothes from the Essendon DFO Ralph Lauren valued at $17,177.

The 42-year-old is also charged with attempted burglary, with police alleging he tried to reverse into a Burberry boutique in a “ram raid fashion” but was unable to gain entry and fled, according to a summary.

The Gisborne man denied he was involved during a self-represented bail application.

“I would never do in my life something like that – it’s just outrageous. Dumb,” Mr Agostino told the court.

He told the court he had nothing “whatsoever” to do with the ram raids.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Jeff Dart told the court police had captured the accused on CCTV footage in relation to the burglaries.

Mr Agostino told the court police showed him CCTV stills from an alleged burglary at a Rebel Sport and the photos showed a man with his back and part of his pants down.

According to charge sheets, he allegedly stole $2894 worth of clothing from the store at Taylors Lake Shopping Centre.

“It wasn’t me, I have a tattoo there,” he told the court.

“Well the police can investigate that aspect of it, I’m not sure whether they realise they’ve got a tattoo on your back,” magistrate John Doherty told the man.

Mr Agostino said the photos showed the man in the photo bending down.

“If I bend over now … I can do that now look,” he said.

The accused turned his back to the screen and lifted his yellow T-shirt, with his trousers slipping to show half of his rear and a tattoo on his back.

“I’ve got a tattoo there and the guy bends over there. Have a look at his back. He’s browner than me and doesn’t have a tattoo there,” Mr Agostino told the court.

“It’s just not me – I shouldn’t be here today at all.”

His lawyer Matthew Neilson earlier said his client had an issue with his back, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Court documents also allege Mr Agostino tried to reverse into the Chanel store on Flinders Lane.

“The accused attempted to reverse through the front glass doors of the Chanel Store however was unsuccessful due to two concrete pillars at the side of the entry point in a ram raid fashion,” the police summary reads.

But despite his pleas, magistrate John Doherty remanded him in custody until March 12.

His co-accused Damien Tate also faced court on Saturday, charged with five offences including attempted burglary, commit an indictable offence while on bail and theft.

Police allege Mr Tate stole $108,483 from the Bottega Veneta on Collins Street in February this year.

He is expected to apply for bail on Tuesday.

Both men were on bail at the time of the alleged offences.

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