Ali Chaouk shot dead Mohammed Haddara in Melbourne’s west nine years ago before chopping up his clothes, getting rid of the gun and burying bullet casings in a backyard, a court has been told.
- Mr Chaouk is the second man to stand trial for the murder of Mr Haddara
- Prosecutors say accused organised a meeting with victim before killing him
- Defence lawyers urge jury not to be influenced by previous trial
Mr Chaouk is on trial in the Victorian Supreme Court for murdering Mr Haddara, who was shot in the back five times on a street near his family home in Altona North on June 20, 2009.
The court heard there had been some “antipathy” between the Chaouk and Haddara families, but that that evidence was of limited relevance to the trial.
Mr Chaouk is the second man to stand trial charged with Mr Haddara’s murder.
His friend and wife’s cousin, Ahmed Hablas, initially confessed to the shooting but recanted his statement and was acquitted by a jury in 2011.
Crown prosecutor Patrick Bourke told the jury Mr Hablas had falsely confessed to the shooting.
“Mr Hablas will tell you that he made that statement out of fear, intimidation, by the accused and his family,” he said.
Instead, prosecutors allege Mr Chaouk shot Mr Haddara after organising to meet him to discuss an incident involving one of the victim’s friends.
Mr Chaouk is accused of then driving to a house where he had a shower and asked a person, who cannot be identified, to cut up his clothes and hide the gun.
He later told his friend he had shot Mr Haddara and buried six bullet casings in the backyard, where a slab of concrete was set to be poured, according to prosecutors.
Defence questions credibility of witnesses
Prosecutors allege the meeting between Mr Haddara and Mr Chaouk was arranged after Mr Haddara and his cousin allegedly forced Mr Hablas into their car and started questioning him.
Prosecutors allege they asked Mr Hablas: “Who do you think you are, hanging around with the Chaouk family?”
Mr Hablas told police he managed to escape the car and was not with Mr Haddara when he was shot.
It’s alleged that later that evening, Mr Chaouk and Mr Hablas met with a solicitor to write up a false statement in which Mr Hablas confessed to the shooting.
But Mr Chaouk’s defence barrister Patrick Tehan QC questioned the credibility of the main witnesses in the case, including Mr Hablas.
“Ahmed Hablas is the main crown witness in this case, the very man who confessed to killing Mohammed Haddara,” he told the jury.
“A jury, such as you, were not satisfied on the evidence presented in that case that he murdered Mohammed Haddara.
“That acquittal says nothing about what your task is and cannot influence your task in any way.”
The trial before Justice Kevin Bell continues.