Six-month trial for bikie brawl accused
November 4, 2010
The trial of bikie gang members charged over a fatal brawl at Sydney airport will last about six months, a judge says.
Ten members of the Comanchero, charged with murder, and two Hells Angels, charged with riot and affray, all faced the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday.
Anthony Zervas, 29, died on March 22, 2009, after being beaten with steel bollards and stabbed during a brawl between the warring gangs in the check-in area of Sydney airport in front of horrified onlookers.
His older brother, senior Hells Angels member Peter Zervas, was charged with riot and affray over the airport violence.
But in late October, prosecutors withdrew the riot charge against Zervas, who pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of affray.
He is due to be sentenced in January.
In the Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Megan Latham was told of negotiations that may reduce the number of accused.
"The numbers may reduce through discussions," crown prosecutor Chris Maxwell QC told the court.
Each of the Comanchero members was led individually into the courtroom, with legal representatives indicating that "discussions" were under way in at least four cases. It may mean some of the men won't go to trial.
Comanchero boss Mahmoud "Mick" Hawi, and four of his colleagues - Maher Aouli, Farres Abounader, Frank La Rosa and Christian Menzies - each indicated they intended to go to trial.
Legal representatives for five other Comanchero - Tiago Costa, Ismail Erden, Zoran Kisacanin, Pomare Pirini and Usama Potrus - said that discussions had begun with prosecutors or that instructions had not yet been received from clients.
The two Hells Angels - David Padovan and Musa Ovalle - indicated a willingness to talk with prosecutors.
Justice Latham declined to set down a trial date for the men until she knew how many cases would proceed.
"My initial estimate at this stage is we are looking at a trial length of approximately six months," she said.
Each of the men had their matters adjourned until November 25, when each of them is expected to have finalised negotiations with prosecutors.
"It is unlikely that the trial will start at the beginning of the term (January 31, 2011) if we are looking at the current number of defendants or lesser," Justice Latham said.
"I anticipate that a date could be fixed that would straddle the middle of the year. We are looking at something in April, May through to September."