Judge bails murder accused over 'weak' prosecution case

A woman accused of luring a Colombian man to his death, days after he allegedly burgled her home, has been bailed after a judge found the case against her was "relatively weak". 

Sarah Monique Tilley, 23, sought release in the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday after she was charged with the murder of Sergio Cuesta Posada.

Police allege he was killed in Melbourne's southeast on September 16, 2023, by Tilley's co-accused Jared Stuart Baker, Michael Jeffrey Frankland and Hubba Albe Paul.

Mr Cuesta Posada's body has not been found.

Phone records show Tilley, who was in Queensland, had two conversations with the deceased on the night of his disappearance, Detective Senior Constable Jason Stewart told the court.

It's alleged during those calls, Tilley instructed Mr Cuesta Posada to attend the Chelsea Heights address where she knew he would be murdered. 

"He doesn't leave that house alive," Det Stewart told the court on Wednesday.

"There's been an altercation - exactly what happened, I don't know."

The detective told the court Mr Cuesta Posada was known to Tilley and her partner Paul, and he travelled to Queensland to see them days before he was allegedly killed.

Tilley and Paul's home was burgled on September 7 and CCTV footage allegedly showed Mr Cuesta Posada was responsible,  Det Stewart said.

A $150,000 gold necklace was reported as being stolen but Det Stewart told the court he believed cocaine was taken instead.

It's alleged CCTV footage of the burglary was found on Tilley's phone when she was arrested and extradited to Victoria in February. 

Tilley's defence barrister Chris Farrington denied Tilley had the footage at the time of the alleged murder. 

He told Justice James Elliott the prosecution's case against his client was not strong as it relied on inferences from phone call records. 

Mr Farrington pointed out Mr Cuesta Posada contacted Tilley first and he had already left his party to go to the Chelsea Heights address before she called him back.

The barrister said it was possible the only reason Tilley contacted him was because he called her first, and even if she did provide him with the address, she did so innocently.

Mr Farrington submitted Tilley was a young woman with no prior convictions, a stable home, available work opportunities and a supportive family. 

Her parents were willing to provide a $100,000 bail surety and the prosecution was not alleging Tilley was a flight risk or a danger to the community, Mr Farrington said.

The risk she would interfere or instruct someone else to interfere with Mr Cuesta Posada's remains, could be managed with a condition to not contact any of her co-accused, he said.

Justice Elliott agreed.

In delivering his bail decision, Justice Elliott found the prosecution's case against Tilley was "relatively weak".

That factor, along with the support systems in place, meant she had exceptional reasons to be released on bail, the justice said.

Tilley smiled and mouthed "thank you" to her lawyers as she was bailed to an address in Melbourne's southeast.

Her case will return to Melbourne Magistrates Court in August. 

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