Man guilty of helping son after killing
A father accused of disposing of a knife and helping his son flee to El Salvador in 1995 has been found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
The NSW Supreme Court jury on Friday acquitted Rafael Rodriguez, 60, of Mortdale, of the more serious charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder.
Sydney schoolboy Peter Savage, 16, was stabbed to death on August 24, 1995, at Lidcombe in Sydney's west, as he walked home from rugby training.
Crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC alleged he was murdered by Abraham Rodriguez, then 18, who fled to El Salvador and who has never returned to Australia.
Last year, a friend of Abraham Rodriguez - who cannot be named as he was 17 at the time - was convicted of the manslaughter of the schoolboy and gave evidence at the accessory trial.
The jury also heard from John Le, who said his friends Abraham Rodriguez and the juvenile came into his family's Lidcombe bakery on the evening of the stabbing.
Abraham Rodriguez showed him a "tiger knife, like in the Rambo movies".
"There was blood on it, very fresh blood ... you could see it was still kind of wet," Mr Le said.
He said he hid the knife for Rodriguez.
That night he had a phone call from an older man who said: "This is Abraham's dad."
He said: "I believe you are holding onto something that belongs to my son Abraham."
The caller told him it was very important not to speak to anyone about it and very important to organise for him to pick up the thing.
Mr Le said the next day he took the knife to an address the man gave him.
"I asked Mr Rodriguez where is Abraham and he said `Abraham's gone. Don't worry about it. He has left the country. He has got some family things he has to go to'."
Mr Le said he handed him the shopping bag containing the knife.
"He said: `you are saving my son's life and you are doing yourself a huge favour'."
Mr Le said he told him he was not doing anyone any favours; he just did not want to get into trouble.
"Don't worry, you will never see this again," the man replied.
After the verdict, Ms Cunneen opposed a defence application for the continuation of bail for Rodriguez.
"This case is about flight after a serious crime," she said.
"It is clear (he) has a support network overseas.
"I am instructed (that) he is supported by an international religious organisation which may be in a position to facilitate that flight."
But Justice Peter Hidden continued bail with conditions including reporting to police three times a week.
He listed a sentence hearing for June 8.
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