No positive ID on fatal airport brawl
September 9, 2010
Hundreds of civilian witnesses have failed to positively identify a man who prosecutors say wielded a bollard during a fatal airport bikie brawl.
His lawyer says a murder charge should therefore be withdrawn.
Anthony Zervas, 29, died at Sydney Airport on March 22, 2009 while in the company of his older brother Peter Zervas, a senior Hells Angels bikie.
The pair, along with other members of the gang, clashed with members of the rival Comanchero gang after a chance meeting on a flight.
Ten Comancheros are charged with Mr Zervas' murder, while his brother and two other Hells Angels are charged with riot and affray over events at the airport that day.
On Thursday, in the closing days of a nine-week committal hearing for the 13 men, a court in the Sydney West complex at Parramatta was shown amateur footage recorded by a witness at the airport on the day of Mr Zervas' death.
In the grainy footage, a person can be seen in the far distance lifting an object above their head, before moving it in a downward movement like an axe swing.
Bystanders can be seen queuing at check-in counters, their attention caught by the action.
Crown prosecutor Natalie Adams says the footage supports other evidence that the man holding the object in the footage is one of the accused, Christian Menzies.
"It is the prosecution case that the footage shows Mr Menzies wielding the bollard, high in the air ... raising it above his head and bringing it down from his head," Ms Adams told the court.
She further alleged that a man seen standing next to Menzies was another of the accused, Comanchero boss Mahmoud 'Mick' Hawi.
Lawyers for the two men dismiss Ms Adams' claims.
"In relation to the many civilian witnesses, it is in my submission a highly significant factor that of some 100 people in the hall ... not a single one of them has positively identified Mr Menzies as being a participant in either fight, let alone as being a person wielding a bollard," barrister John Stratton SC told the court.
Two former Comanchero associates - known only as AL and SP - who were at the airport on the day of the killing and who have since become prosecution witnesses, gave conflicting accounts, Mr Stratton said.
"There is no forensic evidence supporting the evidence of SP and AL and in my submission a properly instructed jury would not accept their evidence," he said.
He asked that the two men he is representing in the proceedings - Menzies and Pomare Pirini - be discharged.
"It is submitted that the crown should discharge both defendants," he said.
Lawyer John Korn said evidence before the court showed "clearly" that his client, Hawi, had come under attack from Mr Zervas during the incident.
"It is inescapable that Anthony Zervas tried to do very serious bodily harm to Mr Hawi, if not tried to kill him," Mr Korn said.
"It is clear that he attacked him. It is clear that he did damage to him. He hid a weapon at that time of a consistency of metal at least 15 to 20cm long ... and witnesses described that swinging motion towards the head of Mr Hawi."
He added that in the circumstances Hawi had been entitled to defend himself and others nearby had also been entitled to defend him.
Mr Korn said "hype and hyperbole" contained in the crown case would not convince a jury of the charges against the accused men.
The hearing continues before Magistrate John Favretto.