‘Bring my little friend with you’: Alleged killers planned shooting at boxing match, court hears – The Age

‘Bring my little friend with you’: Alleged killers planned shooting at boxing match, court hears - The Age

Two men who arrived at a Kensington boxing match armed with guns allegedly hatched a plan to shoot men from another table outside the venue as tension between the two groups escalated during the night.

Forklift driver Ben Togiai died at the scene while Omar Bchinnati was shot in the leg after the two tables were ejected from the Big Time Boxing event at Melbourne Pavilion about 10pm on March 1, 2019.

A trial before Supreme Court judge Justice Christopher Beale heard Abdullah El Nasher, 32, and Osamma Allouche, 28, are accused of murder and attempted murder over the violence.

The prosecution alleges Togiai and Bchinnati were shot as they left the venue, as part of an agreement made between El Nasher, of Port Melbourne, and Allouche, of Coburg, to kill or seriously injure people who had been sitting on a nearby ticketed table.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Thomas told the jury El Nasher spent that morning with Allouche at an Epping smash repair business before returning to his Port Melbourne home.

About 6.40pm, she said, El Nasher received a photograph from girlfriend Brittany McGuire showing him she had eight tickets to a boxing match that night.

The image, Thomas said, featured the names of those fighting, including Khaled Baker, who at the time was sponsored by Bchinnati’s construction company.

“The prosecution allege [El Nasher] was aware Bchinnati or his associates would be there,” Thomas said.

She said El Nasher arrived at the Racecourse Road venue first, sitting at table 28 with a group of others about 8pm before turning off his mobile phone, allegedly to prevent it being tracked throughout the night.

Thomas said El Nasher briefly left about 30 minutes later and returned with a black satchel. Police allege that inside was a gun.

The family of Ben Togiai leaving the Supreme Court

The family of Ben Togiai leaving the Supreme CourtCredit: Penny Stephens

Sitting on table 64 nearby were patrons including Togiai and Bchinnati.

About 8.30pm, Thomas said, El Nasher allegedly texted Allouche from another person’s phone to “bring my little friend with you”.

The prosecution allege this was a reference to Allouche bringing another firearm to the boxing match.

“I’m on my way,” Allouche replied at 9.08pm.

Ben Togiai was shot dead outside Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington.

Ben Togiai was shot dead outside Melbourne Pavilion in Kensington.Credit: Facebook

Soon after, El Nasher allegedly made a throat-cutting gesture towards the men sitting on table 64 before walking outside to meet Allouche, who arrived shortly before 9.30pm. “The prosecution allege … Mr Allouche was armed with a firearm when he arrived at the venue,” Thomas said. “He knew there was going to be a shooting.”

The two accused men were captured on CCTV leaving the venue shortly before the two tables were ejected from the venue about 10pm.

“The prosecution alleges that Mr El Nasher planned to approach the venue … and shoot a person or people from table 64 at that point,” Thomas said. “Mr Allouche understood this was going to take place and that other men from the table knew this was going to take place.”

Once people from table 64 were outside the venue, El Nasher allegedly fired seven .25 automatic colt bullets and Allouche one. Togiai was fatally shot in the chest. Bchinnati was shot as he ran back through the crowd towards the door of the pavilion, and was later found in the venue’s kitchen.

Footage played to the jury on Wednesday included dash-cam images from a car driving past the venue when gunshots were heard.

El Nasher’s defence barrister, Damian Sheales, said while his client admitted to having a gun and firing shots, he disputed that they were the rounds that struck Togiai or Bchinnati.

Allouche’s barrister, John Desmond, said his client also admitted he fired his gun, one shot into the footpath, but maintained he was acting in defence of himself and others.

He also argued that at no point was Allouche part of any plan to shoot or kill anybody.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. The trial continues.

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Source: theage.com.au

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