Australian basketball great Shane Heal sane Heal says he’s looking forward to telling his side of the story after being committed to stand trial on charges of defrauding Philadelphia 76ers NBA coach Brett Brown.
The 46-year-old is accused of defrauding former friend and coaching mentor Brown of $750,000 when Heal was sole director of three companies, which are all now deregistered.
Heal was committed to stand trial at the Brisbane District Court on Thursday on three fraud charges by Magistrate Jacqui Payne, despite her deeming aspects of the crown’s case “weak”.
The four-time Olympian was charged last year following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Outside court, Heal said he was disappointed but had always presumed the committal process would lead to a future trial.
“I look forward to being able to get on the stand and really let the truth come out and tell my side of the story,” he said.
It came after his barrister Peter Davis QC claimed the former NBL All-Star guard did nothing wrong in his dealings with Brown and some of the prosecution allegations against him were “nonsense”.
Mr Davis said the three ventures the money had been loaned by Brown for – to acquire a coffee shop in Southport, set up a construction fit-out business and clinch a deal over a burger franchise – were all eventually realised.
The crown’s case was “fundamentally flawed” and partially pegged on “speculation” about where the money went, the barrister claimed.
Liquidators also did not audit the business accounts of two of Heal’s firms regarding a $250,000 sum, taking away from prosecution claims the money didn’t go to fitting out shops, he said.
But Crown Prosecutor Deborah Holliday said it was “readily ascertainable” some of the money came into a bank account, only for all or part of it to be quickly distributed to a margin loan facility.
This came after the court heard Heal had been facing a margin call of more than $90,000 in late 2008.
“It was used not for the purpose that Heal represented to Brown that it would be used for,” Ms Holliday said said.
At an earlier hearing, Brown said he felt he was lending money to Heal personally, even if the legal particulars were otherwise “because it was a friend that I had for 25 years”.
At the time of the alleged offending, Heal was the sole director of the three companies involved – Shyfox Pty Ltd, Cre8ive Constructions Queensland Pty Ltd and 23 Investments Pty Ltd.
Heal’s glittering playing career included two stints in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs.