Pisasale grilled over bombshell recording

FORMER Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has been questioned about his motives behind helping a Chinese escort extract money from her ex-lover.

Pisasale was in the witness box for the second day today to give his defence in his extortion trial today.

Under cross-examination, Pisasale agreed he met Yutian Li, then 37, when he obtained a massage that included sexual services in January 2017.

The court has heard that Pisasale had been introduced to Li by his barrister friend Sam Di Carlo.

Di Carlo - in one phone call intercepted by the Crime and Corruption Commission - asked Pisasale if Li had "put her hand on your leg" and said he had asked Li to give him the "girlfriend experience".

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is in the witness box once again. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is in the witness box once again. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Pisasale, during his cross-examination today, was asked about the call and his motives for helping Li obtain money from her Sydney taxi driver ex-boyfriend, who she told him had betrayed her.

Prosecutor Sarah Farnden asked Pisasale about a call in which he told Mr Di Carlo, "I didn't f*** (Li) anymore... she's too naive."

She said Pisasale also told Mr Di Carlo about how he was organising a letter of demand to her ex-boyfriend, saying he would tell him the whole story.

"I'll tell you about that. You'll laugh like shit."

Pisasale is accused of later acting to extort money from Li's ex-boyfriend by demanding he pay her money during phone calls in which he posed as a private investigator acting for Li.

He later instructed his lawyer friend Cameron McKenzie to send the ex-boyfriend a letter of demand for $8400, including $6100 for the cost of her hiring a private investigator.

But the prosecution case is that no private investigator was actually hired.

Yutian Li arrives at the District Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Yutian Li arrives at the District Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Ms Farnden questioned Pisasale about the phone call with Mr Di Carlo today.

"Mr Di Carlo told you that because of the favour you had done for her the next one was free," she said to Pisasale.

"He always talks like that."

Ms Farnden continues: So you knew that she was grateful for what you were doing for her.

"We became friends. Sam just is talking as Sam does. I did what any other decent person would do."

But Ms Farnden challenged him on his motive for helping Li, asking whether demanding money from her ex-boyfriend was a means to assist Li in staying in Australia.

But Pisasale rejected that, saying he was just trying to help her recover money she was "legally entitled to".

He told the court Li had told him of having incurred costs of $10,000 in moving from Singapore to be with her ex-boyfriend in Australia, only to find out he was married.

Pisasale has also told the court that he believed Li had spent money investigating her ex-boyfriend, but had not asked her for any details of the investigation or how much it had cost.

Pisasale was also questioned over whether he misled local lawyer Cameron McKenzie, who is also defending an extortion charge over the letter of demand he sent Li's ex-boyfriend as a "favour".

"You also told Mr McKenzie the lady had told you she had hired a private investigator," Ms Farnden asked Pisasale.

"She didn't use the word private. She said she'd had an investigation done," he replied.

"You told Mr McKenzie the lady had told you she hired a private investigator," Ms Farnden repeated.

"Yes," he replied.

"That wasn't true," Ms Farnden said.

"Well she had an investigation done I assumed that to be true," he said.

"She had actually told you that she had hired a private investigator?" Ms Farnden then asked.

Pisasale replied that "she said she had an investigation and I just assumed that she had a private investigator".

"The whole time Cameron and I were discussing it, it was supposed to be a letter of demand and... no attempt to extort any money from anybody," he said.

A second letter was drafted. But it was not sent, after Li messaged Pisasale on WeChat: "Honey I don't want to threaten my ex-boyfriend again because I just want to forget forever. One day Got (sic) will punish him."

McKenzie, Li and Pisasale have all pleaded not guilty to extortion.

The trial continues.