The former bikie boss facing a retrial over the murder of a young rival during the infamous 2009 airport bikie brawl continues to have links with members from his gang, his bail hearing has heard.
But the barrister representing the accused murderer says that, under the state’s new bail laws, his client must be released because he does not pose “an unacceptable risk to the community”.
In 2011 Mahmoud “Mick” Hawi was found guilty of murdering Anthony Zervas in the crowded domestic terminal of Kingsford Smith Airport, and sentenced to a maximum 28 years jail.
But last month the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal set aside the conviction of the 34-year-old former president of the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang, and ordered a retrial.
In the latest test for the state’s new bail regime, Hawi is now seeking release on conditional bail.
His Supreme Court bail hearing on Thursday heard that Hawi retained his links to the Comanchero.
“Mr Hawi remains a member of the Comanchero,” Crown Prosecutor Helen Roberts told the court.
“It doesn’t appear that he has severed ties with the organisation.”
“Continual involvement with such an organisation is a matter that’s relevant. It goes to the character of the applicant and it does go to the prospect of re-offending.”
However, Hawi’s barrister, Bret Walker, SC, said that under the state’s new bail laws, there was no longer a presumption against bail for any offence, including murder.
Instead, judges were required to consider whether an accused person posed a significant risk to community safety, a significant risk of threatening witnesses, or a significant risk of failing to show up for their trial.
He said none of these criteria had been met by the Crown in the case of his client.
“There was previously a regime in place in which there were presumptions against bail in certain circumstances, but that has now been swept away.
“We have nothing more than a propensity argument based on the alleged offending itself. Section 20 refers to an unacceptable risk that the accused will do a, b, c, d…not may.
Mr Walker said that, in light of the fact that the evidence in the case had already been recorded at his previous trial, any attempt to interfere with a witness in the case would be “as perverse and counterproductive a step as could be imagined.”
Justice Ian Harrison will hand down his decision next week.