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Evil had `occupied’ Monis

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A former lawyer of Man Haron Monis says he would have urged police to shoot Monis in the head with “no negotiation”, if he knew the former refugee was the one holding 18 people hostage in the Sydney siege.

Lawyer Dr Nazir Daawar also revealed he kicked Monis out of his office in 2010 when the unrepentant self-anointed “peace activist” refused to plead guilty to sending offensive letters to the grieving families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Testifying at the Sydney siege inquest on Friday, Dr Daawar said Monis became aggressive at the rejection and responded: “I will make you famous”.

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“I said I don’t want that fame,” he said.

In an extraordinary day of testimony from lawyers who represented Monis in his many clashes with the law, Dr Daawar said in his statement to police that while representing Monis between January 18 and January 28, 2010, he found him to be “a very evil smart guy”.

Monis chose the wrong lawyer when he knocked on Dr Daawar’s office the night before his first court appearance: Dr Daawar had previously been the head of the United Nations office in Kabul, Afghanistan when it was under threat from the Taliban in the 1990s.

He took exception to Monis’s theories of “enforcing peace” through violence.

“When he was expressing his opinion of peace and using verses of the Koran he was using it for the wrong purpose,” Dr Daawar said.

When Dr Daawar insisted Monis plead guilty or find another lawyer, Monis flew into a rage, “like evil had occupied his body” with his eyes coming “out of their sockets”.

Monis told Dr Daawar, “I pay money to you and what I say, you do that”.

The encounter ended when Dr Daawar said: “Get out of my office”.

In his statement, Dr Daawar said if he’d known Monis was in the Lindt Cafe, “I would call police to shoot him in the head and no negotiation”.

“I knew that will be the one and only way appropriate to deal with that situation.”

Criminal lawyer Manny Conditsis told the inquest Monis told him stories of being an agent for the Iranian secret service who had fled Iran when he no longer wanted to secretly record Muslim clerics for the authorities.

Mr Conditsis said Monis refused to accept that his letters, which referred to deceased soldiers burning in hell, could cause offence.

When he finally convinced Monis to plead guilty in 2013, Mr Conditsis thought he had convinced Monis to publicly apologise but, as soon as he saw a media pack outside the Sydney courthouse, “out came his mantra”.

There was some disagreement about Monis’s intelligence. High-profile lawyer Chris Murphy told the court he thought Monis was “not very intelligent” when he represented him for a day in 2009 but Mr Conditsis said Monis was articulate and “a very intelligent man”.

However all lawyers spoke of Monis’s attention-seeking behaviour and their anger at his performances outside court for the cameras.

Dr Daawar also revealed that, after refusing to represent Monis he received an anonymous call from a man who said Monis was wanted for sexually assaulting a woman in Iran before he came to Australia in 1996.

The hearing resumes on Monday.


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