NSW man denies organising witness murder

Luke John Sparos, 37, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Gemahl Maika.A prisoner accused of organising the execution-style murder of a crown witness in a drug case had no involvement in the Sydney shooting whatsoever, his barrister has told a jury.

Craig Smith SC also warned the NSW Supreme Court jurors that criminals giving evidence against his client Luke John Sparos did not deserve their trust and, as a group, “are the epitome of unreliability”.

Rather than Sparos being behind the execution, Mr Smith said the actual organiser was another man, known as Witness E, who was “doing 27 years” after being found guilty of importing cocaine.

The barrister was giving the defence opening address on Wednesday at the trial of Sparos who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Gemahl Maika by arranging another man, known as Witness F, to shoot him for payment on April 6, 2011.

The 38-year-old was shot four times in the body and once in the head outside his Glen Alpine home.

Prosecutor Craig Patrick SC has told the jury Sparos, 37, was in custody awaiting trial for cocaine-related offences when he began planning the killing.

Mr Maika had become an “essential witness” against a group of people, including Sparos – who was motivated to kill him by “retribution” and the desire to send a message, Mr Patrick alleged.

But Mr Smith told the jury his client did not organise the killing and had no involvement in it.

“The accused pleaded guilty to charges related to the importation of drugs, he did not go to trial,” he said.

“Indeed, he offered to plead guilty to those charges about 10 months before (Mr Maika) was killed.”

Jurors may not like Sparos because of his involvement in importing drugs, but any such feelings were not relevant to his murder trial, he said.

The prosecution would rely “very heavily” on evidence given by criminals, including the convicted shooter, but Mr Smith said their testimony would be “very unreliable”.

The “ruthless” shooter, Witness F, had pleaded not guilty in 2016 to committing the murder.

“He gave evidence on oath in a trial where he denied, many, many times having been involved in the murder.

“He lied and lied to a jury just like you.

“The prosecution now calls Witness F in this trial – his words are not worthy of your trust.”

The only exception to him lying was when he told an undercover police officer that “he was sent to do the killing by the boys that went down for conspiracy” one of whom “is doing 27 years”.

Mr Smith said the defence contended the conspiracy reference related to the cocaine importation leaders, including Witness E, who received that sentence.

The trial continues before Justice Ian Harrison.

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