Defence barrister James McQuillan argued at the Melbourne Magistrate Court on Thursday that a murder charge against his 41-year-old client and 45-year old Evangelos Goussis should be thrown out, as no jury would be able to convict on the evidence of the witness, a gangland hitman known as “Jack Price”, in the case of a 2003 murder of a male prostitute, Shane Chartres-Abbott.
“For a jury to convict either of these two gentlemen on the evidence of (Price) is in my submission not possible,” McQuillan said.
Magistrate Peter Mealy rejected the submission, saying it was up to a jury to decide on the Price’s reliability and other circumstantial evidence.
Mr Mealy committed both the 41-year-old and 45-year-old Evangelos Goussis, Australian former boxer and kickboxer from Geelong, who pleaded not guilty, to stand trial for the murder of a 27-year-old male prostitute, who once claimed to be a 200-year-old vampire.
Chartres-Abbott was killed on the orders of drug dealer Mark Perry in revenge for the brutal rape of a woman named Penny, Perry’s former girlfriend.
Jack Price, whose identity is legaly protected, shot Chartres-Abbott, outside his Reservoir home in Melbourne’s north, on the day he was due to appear in court on charges of raping and assaulting Penny.
Later that day he had an arrest warrant served on him for traffic offences by friend and then detective sergeant Peter Lalor.
After being bailed by Mr Lalor, the killer gave him $1500 to “have a drink”, the court heard.
Known as Jack Price, the hitman was not even suspected of the 2003 murder, until he confessed in 2006. He revealed himself to police as the gunman in the unsolved murder.
He pleaded guilty and in exchange for his statements to police implicating himself, the 41-year-old, Mr Goussis and two retired police detectives, was not required to serve any additional jail time for the killing.
The 41-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and Evangelos Goussis, 45, are accused of being involved in an elaborate conspiracy on behalf of drug dealer Mark Perry to kill Chartres-Abbott.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Tinney SC said there was no evidence to show Perry ever met or talked with Price. He said phone call records, interstate flights and other evidence showed the 41-year-old acted as a conduit between Perry and Price to arrange the murder.
Mr Tinney said despite Price’s admission that he had provided his information to police through multiple statements and lied at times to police, his evidence was credible.
Counsel for Mr Goussis, John Saunders, made no submission against his client being committed to stand trial.
Mr Goussis is accused of being Price’s accomplice on the morning of the shooting.
Mr Goussis and and the 41-year-old were remanded in custody to appear before the Victorian Supreme Court for directions on 4 April.
Source: The Australian, Herald Sun.