Tensions erupt in Hawi trial war
The first shot has been fired in the war to decide who takes the blame for the failed murder trial arising from the assassination of bikie boss Mick Hawi.
A 16-page letter written by police detailing their complaints about how the Officer of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) ran the case has been posted to Instagram.
The letter was posted on an account called "mick_hawi_murder", which has since been deleted, but appeared to have been set up for the sole purpose of making the complaints public. It is not known who is responsible for the account.
The account's bio reads in part: "The truth about the murder trial of Mick Hawi and how the (ODPP) deliberately left out evidence."
However, experts familiar with the case said the claim was ridiculous.
Instead, one source said the ODPP opted to not use several pieces of evidence raised in the complaint because they were either legally inadmissable, unintelligible or were not strong enough to support the prosecution case.
There is also no suggestion that the prosecution lawyers in the case were corrupt or deliberately left out evidence.
The trial surrounding the underworld murder outside Hawi's Rockdale gym in 2018 was one of the most anticipated in the state's criminal history.
But last month Yusuf Nazlioglu and Jamal Eljaidi, who were accused of being the shooter and getaway driver respectively, were found not guilty by a jury in the NSW Supreme Court.
Making the situation worse, Ahmad Doudar, who was originally charged with murder, was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of being an accessory after the fact of murder.
During the trial, tensions were noticeably heated between the police and prosecuting lawyers over the direction of the case and which evidence was called.
And when the jury returned its verdict, the fallout and finger pointing began. It has now spilt into the public sphere via social media.
There had also been a suggestion that police will make an official complaint about the way the ODPP ran the case.
While the letter posted to Instagram was written by officers involved in the case, a NSW Police spokeswoman said it was not an official complaint letter.
"The Instagram post was not an official police document," the spokeswoman said.
It is understood police are now reviewing the case to consider if a complaint will be made, and to which government body it will be made.
A spokeswoman for the ODPP said: "The Office has not received a complaint from NSW Police. The Office will address any complaint if and when it is submitted. We have no further comment."
However, another source familiar with the case said it was actually the police tactics that caused one of the fatal flaws in the case.
"The police had mistakenly believed that the height of the alleged shooter was 185cm, when in fact his height was discovered to be far less, at 175cm," the source said. "They charged him as the shooter and stuck to this point and it was fatal to the case."
According to the letter, police involved in the case raised issues on several occasions with the ODPP about how the case was being run while the case was on foot.
One of the pieces of evidence raised in the complaint refers to a recording that was not included as evidence in the trial but the written complaint claims it should have been.
The author of the complaint wrote: "I accept that the content of the conversation is a matter for the jury to decide and the defence (lawyers) may have a different interpretation but …(the jury) were never presented with this evidence to make a decision."
However, sources familiar with the recording said that interpretation is wrong and that the recording was unintelligible.
"That's why it wasn't put to the jury - because it didn't say anything that could actually be understood," the source said. "The police are joining dots that aren't there."
The letter also raised numerous other pieces of listening device material that were not used.
The complaint writer was also critical of the decision not to call evidence from Doudar about the statement of facts to which he pleaded guilty.
However, a source said this may not have been useful to the case.
"Doudar would have just told the jury he pleaded guilty out of convenience so he didn't have to face a murder trial and that he had no idea what he signed," the source said.
The author was also critical of the DPP's decision to allow Doudar to plead to the lesser charge of accessory after the fact.
"(Doudar's) plea to accessory was never run past the police," the author wrote. "We appealed to the director (Lloyd Babb SC) and we were told we have no right of appeal," the author wrote.
The author then said Hawi's widow, Carolina Gonzales, and other family members "appealed to the director and (were) told they would have the decision review(ed), however (it) never was."
The contents of the complaint have not been received well among prosecutors.
One prosecution source said: "To suggest that prosecution deliberately left out evidence is ridiculous and highly defamatory.
"You can't expect a Crown Prosecutor to just bowl up irrelevant or unintelligible evidence," the source said. "You will lose credibility in the case."
Originally published as Tensions erupt in Hawi trial war