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Last updated: February 05, 2012

Feds summon Focarelli suspect to star chamber hearing


A SUSPECT in the murder of Comanchero Giovanni Focarelli and attempted assassination of his father, Vince, has been summonsed to appear at a secret Australian Crime Commission hearing.

He will be questioned over his role in the bloody conflict.

The man - an emerging player in Adelaide's criminal underworld - is a suspect in the murder of Comanchero Giovanni Focarelli and attempted assassination of his father, Vince Focarelli.

The suspect is understood to be a key figure in the fight for control of the Comancheros in SA and has been present at several of the gunfights in the ongoing dispute.

He allegedly was one of the two Comancheros seated in the Caffe Paesano restaurant on the night of December 18 when another gang member opened fire on them - narrowly missing dozens of patrons.

The Sunday Mail  has also learned the man was also allegedly present at the Findon Hotel shootout on January 16 in which gunfire was exchanged with Vince Focarelli.


Sources say the man was authorised by Comancheros' hierarchy interstate to "eliminate" Focarelli, with the decision reached at meetings in Sydney involving both NSW and Victorian members.

Court documents show the man successfully had his bail conditions altered four times in November, December and January to travel to Sydney.

Often referred to as a "star chamber" because witnesses are compelled to answer questions, coercive hearings are selectively used by police to combat the code of silence observed by the bikie gang members.

The man who was summonsed is one of several suspects or persons of interest in the Major Crime Investigation Branch inquiry into last Sunday night's murder of Giovanni Focarelli and the attempted murder of his father, Vince, in a shooting at Dry Creek.

On Friday Focarelli was remanded in custody after being charged with drug possession and 12 counts of breaching bail conditions.

He remains in Royal Adelaide Hospital recovering from four gunshot wounds and will face a bail hearing on Tuesday.

The Sunday Mail  has learned the team of eight detectives who were seconded to the Crime Gangs Task Force to investigate the Caffe Paesano shootout, in North Adelaide, have now been swung into the Focarelli murder investigation, joining the six Major Crime detectives who are conducting the inquiry.

While the man summonsed to attend the coercive hearing is a suspect, detectives are also following other strong lines of investigation including Vince Focarelli's alleged drug activities.

They are keeping an open mind on a likely motive because of the number of enemies he has amassed in recent years.

These enemies include:

HELLS Angels members and associates who have been involved in a feud with Focarelli since 2008 after he fell out with them and began the New Boyz street gang;

MEMBERS of other bikie gangs upset at his activities;

A SENIOR Adelaide crime figure;

OTHER people who have been victims of violent incidents involving him.

The Sunday Mail has learned the summonsed man, who cannot be identified because of secrecy provisions surrounding the ACC's coercive hearings, had lodged an application in the Federal Court to have the summons declared invalid, but this was withdrawn on the eve of the first hearing scheduled for Thursday morning.

In the withdrawn application, the man had sought an injunction preventing him from being questioned "at all, or in the alternative, with respect to matters related to an alleged shooting incident on the evening of Sunday, 18 December, 2011, at Caffe Paesano, now the subject of a police investigation".

Federal Court documents show he received the summons on December 21 - three days after the Caffe Paesano shootout.

The man was summonsed to the coercive hearing under the ACC's South Australian high risk crime groups determination which allows SA police to use the ACC's coercive powers to assist their investigations.

Codenamed Project Dalray, since July, 2010, it has resulted in dozens of suspects, their associates, accountants and advisers being summonsed to the coercive hearings.

Intelligence gathered in the coercive hearings is disseminated to detectives in the Crime Gangs Task Force and Organised Crime Investigation Branch investigating activities including "illegal drug dealings, obtaining financial benefit by vice engaged in by others, murder, kidnapping and other offences", according to court documents.

Neither the ACC or SAPOL comment on persons subject to coercive hearings because of the strict secrecy provisions surrounding them.

Major Crime officer-in-charge Detective Superintendent Grant Moyle yesterday declined to comment on the Focarelli murder investigation.


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