The lawyer for a Sydney man accused of murdering crime figure Hamad Assaad claims the charges are designed to pressure him into “squealing” about the involvement of others.
Osama Hawat, 24, was arrested early on Thursday morning when police swooped on a Greenacre home.
He was taken to Bankstown Police Station and appeared in Bankstown Local Court in the afternoon on charges of murder and participating in a criminal group.
During the brief appearance, the court heard there were 20 pages of circumstantial evidence. The matter was adjourned to August 23.
Hawat didn’t apply for bail and it was formally refused, but the court heard an application may be made at his next court date.
Detective Chief Inspector Angelo Memmolo says the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
“Investigations will continue until we bring those others before the court and to account,” he said outside court.
Hawat’s lawyer, Ahmed Dib, said his client intended to fight the charges and described the allegations as circumstantial.
“They are very serious (charges),” he told reporters.
“Which is why we’re taking our time, making sure that we don’t rush into showing and pleading his innocence until the right moment.”
Hawat was upset his reputation was being tarnished, Mr Dib added.
“He says he has nothing to do with the murders and these are allegations against him putting pressure on so that he might be able to squeal on other people.”
The arrest marks a major development in investigations into a string of bloody gangland shootings across Sydney in recent years.
Assaad was gunned down in broad daylight by at least two men while standing in the driveway of his Georges Hall home, in Sydney’s southwest, last October.
The 29-year-old was a key suspect in the April, 2015, murder of underworld kingpin and convicted killer Walid Ahmad.
He’s also been linked to the
bungled shooting in Leichhardt of Mafioso kingpin Pasquale Barbaro last year.
A suspect in Assaad’s murder, 29-year-old Kemal Barakat, was killed in his Mortlake apartment in March.
Ten underworld figures have been killed in Sydney since 2015.