Darwiche v R; El-Zeyat v R; Aouad v R; Osman v R [2011] NSWCCA 62 (8 April 2011)


CRIMINAL LAW – conviction appeals – joint trials of Appellants – all Appellants convicted of two murders (Lawford Street shooting) – firearm attack on suburban house from street – two occupants (Ziad Razzak and Mervat Nemra) killed – joint criminal enterprise – alleged to be part of feud between two groups – one Appellant (Darwiche) convicted at same trial of earlier offences of maliciously discharge loaded firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (to Bilal Razzak) and shoot at a person (Farouk Razzak) with intent to murder (Yanderra Street shooting) – these offences also alleged to be part of feud – jury unable to agree upon verdict on further count against Darwiche of murder (of Ali Abdul Razzak) APPEAL – grounds by all Appellants claiming prejudice and a miscarriage of justice flowing from joint trial – no error in decision to hold joint trial of all Appellants for Lawford Street shootings – no error in decision to try Darwiche in same joint trial for earlier alleged shooting offences said to be part of feud – appropriate directions given to jury concerning use of evidence against each Appellant – jury reached verdicts impartially on evidence and in accordance with trial judge’s directions – no miscarriage of justice resulting from joint trial APPEAL – grounds challenging direction that evidence of one indemnified witness could support evidence of another indemnified witness – no error in direction APPEAL – claim by Darwiche that it was abuse of process for prosecution case to be based upon evidence of indemnified witnesses who received benefits – no application made at trial for stay on this basis – no proper basis for stay in any event – assessment of credibility and reliability of witnesses part of jury’s function – all evidence concerning indemnities and benefits placed before the jury – no miscarriage of justice APPEAL – grounds contending error in various respects during trial – no error demonstrated – no miscarriage of justice APPEAL – applications by two Appellants (Darwiche and El-Zeyat) for leave to add further grounds of appeal after hearing of appeal but before judgment delivered – suggested fresh evidence – approach to determination of application for leave – assessment of suggested fresh evidence – whether fresh and credible – whether likely in the context of the trial to cause jury to entertain a reasonable doubt about guilt of Darwiche or El-Zeyat – no miscarriage of justice – leave to add grounds refused