Gang members avoid jail over Bob Knight shooting
Bob Knight died 3 years ago when a bullet killed him whilst he was driving his truck. Photo: Melissa Adams
Two Sydney men involved in the 2009 ''stray-bullet'' shooting of Canberra truck driver Bob Knight will not spend another day in jail over the crime, after a judge gave one a suspended sentence and the other a sentence equal to time he had already served.
Tarek Elbadar and Mustapha Mariam were among five young men from south-west Sydney who initially faced murder charges in relation to their role in a shootout between two gangs sparked by a verbal spat between two youths at a shopping centre.
During a violent confrontation in the car park of a fast-food outlet at Milperra, a stray bullet struck Mr Knight as he sat in the cabin of his truck on a nearby road. Neither Elbadar nor Mariam were ever tried over their involvement in the crime. Prosecutors accepted guilty pleas on the less serious charge of affray.
On Thursday in the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Megan Latham handed down sentences that mean that neither man will spend another day in prison.
Elbadar, whose crimes included lying to the NSW Crime Commission about what had happened in a bid to protect his friends, was given a two-year suspended sentence and a good behaviour bond after Justice Latham found his role in the shootout was limited to assisting others.
''The offender removed himself as soon as it became clear that guns were going to be used,'' she said of the June 25 confrontation.
''It appears clear that he was shocked by this level of violence.''
Elbadar also alerted authorities to the fact that several of those involved in the shooting had been injured.
Justice Latham noted that the 34-year-old suffered from Tourette syndrome, which resulted in feelings of shame and sadness and which made him more compliant and susceptible to peer pressure.
Mariam had also played a more minor role in the 2009 fight than some of his fellow gang members, Justice Latham found.
''He was meant to stay in the car,'' she said. ''But he knew there was a risk of grave violence occurring.''
Mariam was now suffering from stomach problems and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his involvement in the crime and had shown a degree of remorse for his actions.
Earlier this year the man who fired the fatal shot, Mahmoud Mariam, was sentenced to at least five years and nine months' jail for manslaughter.