Lawyer arrested over alleged murder conspiracy

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The lawyer who represented members of the Chaouk family – the arch enemies of the Haddaras in relation to the 2009 murder of Mohammed Haddara – was arrested and questioned over an alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in relation to the murder.

He was arrested at his home in Fairfield by homicide squad detectives early on Friday morning and released without charge several hours later.  Police told The Age that the lawyer denied any involvement but the investigation into the alleged conspiracy is continuing.

He is not suspected of any involvement in the murder of Haddara, who was shot dead in his parents’ home, but was questioned about an alleged conspiracy between two members of the Chaouk family to avoid conviction by making a false confession which would later be recanted. 

Haddara’s death sparked a feud between the two western suburbs crime families, sparking a series of drive-by shootings.

Ahmed Hablas, a member of the Chaouk family, confessed to the crime less than 24 hours after the murder and told police he had been held captive in a car by Haddara, shooting him in self-defence.  He was charged with murder a year later, despite police finding no evidence that linked him to the shooting.

But Hablas told the Supreme Court the day before the trial that he wanted to recant his confession, saying he had been taking the blame for Ali Chaouk who he said was the real killer.  Hablas said he had made up the confession when he gave evidence, saying he did it because he feared Chaouk.  He was acquitted of the murder in 2011.

“They can blame each other and walk away, and that's not in the interests of justice,” Justice King said at the trial.

“He's a boastful, stupid, irresponsible and very guilty young man ... if he's not guilty of murder, he's guilty of an incredibly serious attempt to pervert the course of justice.”

The lawyer said he had no knowlege of the conspiracy and didn’t know who shot Haddara.

“I have no idea at all who the shooter was, or whether there was any conspiracy,” he said.

The Haddara clan has been investigated for more than 15 shootings and suspected drug empire, which has links to motorcycle gangs and other crime syndicates.