One of Australia's most notorious criminals was in a maximum-security prison after being jailed for murder when he organised for gunmen to open fire on a Melbourne house over a $45,000 drug debt, a court has heard.
Extraordinary evidence from intercepted phone calls has been given in the County Court about the involvement of Bassam Hamzy – founder of vicious Sydney street gang Brothers 4 Life – in the drive-by shooting of a house in Meadow Heights.
Hamzy was jailed for life in 2002 for the shooting murder of Kris Toumazis at a Sydney nightclub in 1998 and was also convicted for conspiring to murder a witness due to give evidence against him.
He was serving his sentence at the Lithgow maximum-security prison in New South Wales when it was discovered in 2008 that he had been using an illegal mobile phone to make more than 400 calls a day to run a $250,000-a-week drug ring, arrange kidnappings and co-ordinate the Brothers 4 Life gang. Hamzy has since been moved to Goulburn's Supermax jail.
The County Court was told on Friday that Hamed Ajaj, 27, and Abdulgini Klink, 24, both of Sydney, were found guilty by a jury last month of two charges of reckless conduct endangering life after being present when two gunmen fired 12 shots at the Meadow Heights house at about 12.50am on May 25, 2008.
Imran Allouche, 32, of Fawkner, a former "ice" addict who was not present during the drive-by shooting, pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering serious injury after admitting taking part in a joint criminal enterprise involving the drive-by shooting. He had supplied the two guns and the ammunition used in the shooting, and the Meadow Heights address.
Judge James Parrish jailed Ajaj and Klink for a year but Allouche, who has turned his life around, walked free after receiving a wholly suspended one-year jail term.
Crown prosecutor Damien Hannan had told the court that Allouche, by May 23, 2008, owed significant amounts of money to Hamzy for drugs Allouche had on-sold to people in Melbourne.
Allouche, who was not having much success collecting the drug debts, was in constant contact with Hamzy before becoming aware the "boys" would be coming down to Melbourne from Sydney to help out.
Allouche cautioned Hamzy that things had to be done slowly and his way, as he was familiar with how things worked in Melbourne. He boasted to Hamzy how he had spent $36,000 on six firearms.
At 7.14pm on May 23, Allouche was recorded telling Hamzy that a drug debtor, "Daniel", had pulled out a gun when approached at his house. Allouche tells Hamzy that "Daniel" or "Woody" owed $45,000.
Allouche, who is upset and possibly crying on the phone, speaks to Hamzy less than an hour later trying to explain how despite his best efforts, his drug debtors have not paid him.
He asks Hamzy for two days to sleep but Hamzy makes it clear that he and "the boys" are going to take over the debt collecting for Allouche.
On May 24 at 6.22pm Hamzy encourages Allouche to put the "boys" in the hotel [in Melbourne] "to use".
An hour later Allouche agrees to “smashing” and “breaking their toes”, and says he has told an associate to “get the boys from where they are, bring them here, and then we're doing ... that's where we're gonna start”.
At 7.53pm, Allouche tells Hamzy, “I want to go to his house, I want to go to his house”, referring to "Woody" who lives at the Meadow Heights house with his parents.
Hamzy agrees and cautions him not to leave the car but to make sure "all the toys are good”.
Allouche replies, "All right habib”.
At 11.13pm, Hamzy tells Allouche on the phone, "I want to spray”. Allouche replies: "They are scumbags … You got to scare him, they don't get the point”, before telling Hamzy, "I'll send the boys there now then”.
Allouche calls Hamzy nine minutes later trying to buy more time to find a more peaceful solution but a frustrated Hamzy tells him, “Brother, go and shoot hey?”.
Woody's mother and her partner were in the lounge room when the gunmen opened fire but were not injured.