'Stray bullet' shooting: no more jail time for two men

Stray bullet ... Bob Knight  was killed as he drove past a shoot-out in Milperra.
Stray bullet ... Bob Knight was killed as he drove past a shoot-out in Milperra.

Two Sydney men involved in the 2009 "stray-bullet" shooting of Sydney 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 already served.

Tarek Elbadar and Moustafa Mariam were among five young men from south-west Sydney who initially faced murder charges for their role in the shoot-out between two gangs.

The confrontation was sparked by a verbal spat between two youths at a shopping centre.

During the course of a violent confrontation in the car park of a KFC chain in Milperra, a stray bullet flew into a busy roadway and killed Mr Knight as he sat in the cabin of his truck.

Neither Elbadar nor Mariam were tried over their involvement in the crime, with prosecutors accepting guilty pleas on the less serious charge of affray. Both men spent time in jail over the incident, but were since placed on bail.

In the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Megan Latham handed down sentences that meant 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 20-month suspended sentence and placed on a good behaviour bond, after Justice Latham found that his role in the shoot-out 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 a number of those involved in the shooting had been injured.

Justice Latham noted that the 34-year-old suffered from Tourette syndrome that resulted in feelings of shame and sadness, making him more compliant and susceptible to peer pressure.

Mariam had also played a lesser 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.

This story 'Stray bullet' shooting: no more jail time for two men first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.