Rebels bikies walk away laughing after
trials end in not guilty
BRENDEN HILLS, court reporter, The
THEY were supposed to be the
trials that gutted the Rebels bikie gang and put a swag of its
members behind bars.
Instead, all four accused Rebels
were acquitted in one case, the eight accused were found not guilty
in the other and a prominent bikie will get a payout, which could be
well into the six figures, from taxpayers to cover his legal costs.
Both marathon cases involved
Rebels bikies on trial for allegedly shooting, beating and
torturing fellow members — but it seems the jury did not believe
The first trial saw a jury in the Downing
Centre District court acquit Rebels Troy Cusens, Jamie Saliba, Chris
Rymer and Eldin Mujuevic over an alleged plot where fellow member
Rishaad Christian was lured to the Mount Druitt clubhouse before he was
shot three times and beaten with a baseball bat until the weapon broke.
On November 2 eight Rebels were found
not guilty in the same court of torturing a former member in a 36-hour
ordeal at a Western Sydney house.
The case fell over after the alleged
victim’s story didn’t add up, including why he went back to the house
shortly after he had “escaped”.
Also in November, Cusens, the Mount
Druitt chapter president, won a costs order that will cost taxpayers a
sum that could go into six figures — to cover his legal bill.
Cusens’ lawyer Leo Premutico declined
to comment other than to say he was negotiating the exact figure with
the Attorney-General’s department.
Saliba, who has face tattoos and
carried a Bible into the dock on most days of the trial, also applied
for costs but was unsuccessful.
The first trial ran from March 22
until May 9 and it appeared that the jury did not believe the account of
Christian, the alleged victim and main Crown witness.
Christian, a drug dealer whose
application for bail on other charges had been refused when he entered
the witness box on March 30, told the court he was the sergeant of arms
of the Rebels Penrith chapter at the time he was shot.
Asked by the crown prosecutor to
explain what that required him to do, Christian told the court: “It
means I’m in charge when we go to war.”
Moments earlier, Christian had been
brought in under the guard of Corrective Services officers.
Judge Stephen Norrish explained to
Christian that this was to ensure he would be safe from the four
accused men in the dock.
“I wouldn’t worry too much, your
honour, there’s not enough of them,” Christian told the judge.
At another point while giving
evidence, Christian looked at the men and sang: “Run, rabbit, run.”
Christian was shot three times in the
leg and left with facial fractures and bleeding on the brain after the
incident in the Rebels clubhouse in Minchinbury on July 7, 2014.
The court was told that Christian
turned up to what he thought was a club meeting.
But when he walked into the club at
8.16pm he had a gun pointed at his head.
Christian ran and the men chased,
shooting at him before they bashed him on the street outside the
The men were wearing balaclavas but
Christian later told police he recognised the voices as Saliba and
Rymer, the court heard.
But, by the time the matter went to
trial, Christian’s credibility became a problem for the prosecution
The court heard that Christian
approached a solicitor who had acted for Saliba and Rymer in the early
stage of the case and demanded money in exchange for him changing his
evidence and making the case “go away”.
There was also the question of whether
Christian could actually identify the men by the sound of their voices.
He also gave the police different
accounts of what was said, the court heard.
Then there was the actual motive for
the shooting. One theory heard by the court was Christian was shot
because Saliba and Rymer owed him money for a drug debt.
Rebels Motorcycle Gang Bikies
Arrive in Tasmania for Chapter Anniversary. Credit - Facebook/John
Clark via Storyful
But the court was told this could have
been a motive for Christian to falsely accuse the two men of shooting
In relation to the second trial,
lawyer Abdul Reslan, who acted for one of the accused men, said: “The
identity of the true assailants could not be determined and so the
accused were acquitted.”
The Office of the Director of Public
Prosecutions did not respond to questions, including if there would be
an appeal in either case or if it was the right decision to proceed with
the cases given the evidence available.