The man who killed 14-year-old Edward Lee and murdered the wife of a man he believed was going to give evidence against him has been sentenced to at least 30 years jail.
Mustapha Dib, now 29, was found guilty of the murder of Anita Vrzina, 20, and the shooting with intent to murder of her de facto husband, Ahmed Banat, then 22, at Punchbowl on November 23, 2000.
Dib was aged 17 years and 10 months at the time of the murder, however, in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Acting Justice Graham Barr made an order allowing his name to be published. Previously he had been known as “Z”.
Dib was 15 when he stabbed Korean schoolboy Edward Lee in a street brawl between two gangs of Asian and Lebanese youths in Telopea Street, Punchbowl, in 1998. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2001.
The Crown Prosecutor, Craig Patrick, said Dib’s motivation was to “silence” Banat “because he could become a witness against him in the Lee case”.
Banat and his wife were in their car with their two-year-old son in the back when a stolen Nissan Pulsar drove up beside them and a gunman fired four to six shots through a door window.
Ms Vrzina was fatally shot in the chest. Banat was shot in the neck but survived following emergency surgery in St George Hospital.
The Crown case was that, while he was in intensive care, Banat wrote notes to police identifying Dib as the gunman.
However, once he was discharged from hospital, Banat recanted and claimed he did not know who the killer was.
During the trial, Banat told the jury that police “took advantage” of him being under heavy medication and pressured him to wrongly identify his wife’s killer.
In sentencing Dib, Justice Barr said the jury rejected Banat’s version. In a twist, Banat was found guilty of four counts of perverting the course of justice in the Sydney District Court on Tuesday.
Justice Barr said Dib planned the public execution of Banat, either to prevent him giving evidence regarding his part in the killing of Edward Lee, or because he found out that Banat was a police informant.
Dib believed informants should be killed, as should their “next of kin” and any witnesses, Justice Barr said.
Although the murder and the shoot with intent to murder were in the worst category of crime, Justice Barr declined to impose a life sentence because Dib was a minor at the time.
He said Dib had some prospects of rehabilitation.
Dib was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years and maximum 35 years for the murder of Ms Vrzina. He was also sentenced to a minimum 15 years and maximum 20 years for shooting with intent to murder Banat.
With time served and some accumulation of the sentences he will be eligible for parole in July 2041. His total sentence expires in July 2051.
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