A 38-year-old Sydney criminal lawyer was arrested and charged this morning after his South Sydney home, CBD office and storage unit were all raided by police on Tuesday afternoon.
The lawyer is charged with offences of accessory after the fact to murder for allegedly falsifying evidence, including affidavits in relation to an investigation of the alleged murder of a 15-year-old boy, Brayden Dillon, who was shot dead in his bedroom last year.
The 38-year-old lawyer is alleged to have “co-ordinated the provision of false affidavits on behalf of others, and passed on information relating to the alleged murder between numerous people. Police will also allege he took a mobile phone into a correctional facility so an inmate could use it.”
As a result of the searches, reportedly, police found and seized over thirty-thousand dollars cash, mobile phones, and electronic devices.
Amongst the charge of an accessory after the fact to murder, the criminal lawyer will also be facing other charges, including knowingly participating in a criminal group to assist crime, acting with intent to perverting the course of justice and unlawfully bringing anything into a correctional centre.
The criminal lawyer is reported to have previously represented high-profile cases, including deceased former Comanchero boss, “Mick” Hawi.
More arrests are expected.
The Alleged Execution-Style Murder of Brayden Dillon
It is reported that 15-year-old Brayden Dillon was shot dead while asleep at his mum’s home in Glenfield last year in April.
On 14 April 2017, 15-year-old Brayden was found dead in his bed with a gunshot wound to his head when police arrived at home on Moresby Avenue at around 6am. The boy was taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
It is reported, that investigators believe that Brayden was murdered out of a revenge attack after Brayden’s brother allegedly stabbed and killed Adam Abu-Mahmoud in a street brawl in 2016.
It’s alleged that Mr. Abu-Mahmoud’s uncle and Abdul Abdul-Mahmoud sought and contracted a gunman, Craig Conrad to execute Brayden.
Abdul Abu-Mahmoud has now been charged with the child’s murder, while Abdul’s brother and Adam Abu-Mahmoud’s father and Mohamed Abu-Mahmoud have all now been arrested and charged for accessory after the fact to murder and other charges.
What is the Law on Murder in NSW?
You may recall from our previous blog on the law and penalties for murder charges in NSW that a person guilty of murder in NSW will face a penalty of up to life imprisonment under section 61 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW).
A person convicted of murder can in some cases receive a penalty other than life imprisonment if the Judge finds that a life imprisonment is not appropriate given the extent of criminality involved in the offence. If this is the conclusion a Judge comes to then a non-parole and parole period will be imposed representing the period the offender must spend behind bars before being eligible for release into the community on ‘parole’.
Factors a Judge considers in assessing the extent of criminality include, premeditation, level of violence, use of weapons, and any provocation involved are some examples.
Since February 2003, murder became an offence carrying a ‘standard non-parole period’ of 20 years imprisonment- meaning a minimum of 20 years imprisonment behind bars before being eligible for release on parole if the offence falls in the middle of the range of objective seriousness for a murder offence. It is used as a guidepost or yardstick for a Judge, not a requirement when sentencing an offender.
How Can Police Prove Murder Charges in NSW?
Under section 18 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), a person can only be guilty of murder if the police can prove each of the following elements of the crime beyond reasonable doubt:
- The accused person caused the victim’s death by his/her voluntary actions; and
- At the same time, either:
- The accused person intended to kill the victim; or
- The accused person intended to cause a really serious injury (or permanent/serious disfiguring) of the victim; or
- The accused person foresaw the probability of his/her actions causing death but continued anyway; or
- The accused person was in the process of committing a crime carrying a maximum penalty of 25 years or more imprisonment (constructive murder).
For an outline on the legal defences to a murder charge in NSW, see defences to a murder charge in NSW.
What is the Law and Penalties for Accessory After the Fact to Murder in NSW?
A person guilty of being an accessory after the fact to murder pursuant to section 349 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) will face a penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment.
“Accessory after the fact” includes conduct that amounts to knowingly providing assistance to the person who committed the murder (the principal offender) or to a person who aided or abetted the principal offender.
You can be guilty to a charge of accessory after the fact to murder only if each of the following elements of the crimes are proven:
- That someone other than you committed the crime of murder (the other person who committed the crime is known as the ‘principal offender’); and
- You intentionally assisted the principal offender after the crime was committed; and
- At the time of giving that assistance, you were aware of all the essential facts and circumstances that give rise to the precise offence committed by the principal offender; and
- With that knowledge, you gave that assistance so that the principal offender could escape arrest, trial or punishment for the crime of murder.
As to having knowledge of the essential facts and circumstances that give rise to the precise offence committed by the principal offender (in respect to the 3rd element above), an accused person for this charge may have this knowledge/awareness in circumstances he/she did not witness the crime being committed if he/she forms a belief that the crime took place as a result of being told about it from someone else.
The police is also required to prove that the accused person had knowledge as to the precise crime committed by a principal offender (see Gall v R  NSWCCA 69 at ).
You will be not guilty if you provided assistance after a murder has been committed (i.e. being a lookout or providing a lift to the perpetrator of the murder or getting rid of or changing evidence) in circumstances you didn’t know that the offence has been committed.
You will also be not guilty if you did not intend to assist the principal offender after the crime was committed.
Other defences to this charge include duress or necessity.
Any questions arising from this blog? Our team are available 24/7 for a discussion to assist.
We appear in all courts with experienced criminal lawyers in Bankstown, Blacktown and Parramatta.