Five young men involved in the killing of Duane Hutchings have been granted bail by Melbourne Magistrates Court.
John Atalalis, 24, George Panagiotou, 22, and 18-year-olds John Panagiotou, Marc Amad and Ameer Jarrar facing charges of aggravated home invasion and assault were granted bail by magistrate Constantinos Kilias.
Last month, bail had been refused because the weapon hadn’t been found and other people involved in the crime had not been arrested. The young men also have no prior convictions. As part of their bail conditions they are not allowed to leave the house after 9pm unless they are chaperoned by one of their parents.
The granting of bail has outraged Mr Hutchings’ family that say “an innocent man has been killed”. Furthermore, he had nothing to do with the DJ equipment and was just visiting the home at the time. The victim’s family said they were angered by the scenes they saw in court as the supporters of the young men that attended the bail hearing laughed and joked among themselves.
The men will return to court in April.
Mr Hutchings, father of five, died from a gunshot wound to the head on 9 February after Tony Panagiotou, 56, his sons and others allegedly stormed into his Oakleigh East unit to confront him about DJ equipment that wasn’t returned after it was hired out to a woman.
Brothers George and John Panagiotou, and Mr Atalalis, a friend and partner, provided the equipment from Love it Loud, a business that offered such equipment. They later reported it as stolen. They responded to the ad on Gumtree when they saw what they believed to be their equipment go up on sale.
Mr Atalalis purportedly posed as a buyer and inspected the equipment. He said he would return with cash to pay for it, instead he allegedly returned with other men, armed with clubs, at 5.25 am in the morning to forcefully claim the equipment.
Mr Hutchings, who was just visiting the house and was not involved with the DJ equipment, was shot with a single-barrel sawn-off shot gun by Tony Panagiotou, say police.The others were charged with aggravated home invasion and assault.