Gunman meant to kill lawyer: Crown

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The man who carried out the brazen daylight execution of a Sydney solicitor intended to kill him not just shoot him in the leg, a judge has been told. Gunman Arthur Keleklio previously testified he only intended injuring his target, but “my finger just touched the trigger and the gun went off three times”. However prosecutor Sean Hughes on Monday submitted the judge would reject that evidence and the reliance on it by his co-offender Abraham Sinai. Keleklio pleaded guilty in April to murdering Ho Ledinh who was shot as he sat with friends outside the Happy Cup Cafe at Bankstown City Plaza on January 23, 2018. In June, a jury found Sinai guilty of the murder on the basis he was part of an arrangement for the 65-year-old lawyer to be killed, with his involvement including driving the gunman from the scene. At the men’s resumed sentence hearing in the NSW Supreme Court, Keleklio’s barrister Paul Coady referred to his evidence about the plan being to collect a debt and changing at the last moment to “shooting the guy in the leg”. CCTV clearly showed his client could have shot Mr Ledinh in the back of the head but he moved positions and instead pointed the gun down towards his lower body. Sinai’s barrister Mark Tedeschi SC submitted this evidence could be accepted, also contending the CCTV showed the gun was clearly pointed down. He referred to the “inept” plan, submitting the judge could not conclude Sinai was the organiser, or the person who recruited Keleklio. “The amateurish way it was done in a public place where cameras actually filmed the attack itself as well as numerous cameras filming the getaway are utterly consistent with a plan to wound or injure rather than to kill.” But the prosecutor argued the evidence suggested the intention was to kill, noting a .45 calibre handgun was used, the shooting was at close range and three shots were fired. If the aim was simply to maim, one shot would have been enough. “It (the gun) did not malfunction three times,” he said. Mr Hughes also suggested Sinai had provided the gun to the shooter in the street shortly before the crime. The murder was at the “upper end” of seriousness, having taken place in a crowded street in a retail district, during the day when children were not far away and elderly people were walking around. Many witnesses were filled with terror and some may never be able to return to the area, he said. Justice Robert Alan Hulme has not yet set a date for when he will sentence the men. Australian Associated Press


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