Nightclub shooting followed removal of accused’s half-brother, murder trial told

A drive-by shooting outside a Melbourne nightclub took place hours after the half-brother of one of two men now accused of murder was ejected from the venue, a trial has heard.

Security guard Aaron Khalid Osmani and patron Richard Arow died from head wounds after both were hit when four shots were fired from a stolen Porsche SUV as it drove past Prahran’s Love Machine about 3.15am on April 14, 2019.

Aaron Khalid Osmani (left) and Richard Arow died from gunshot wounds to the head.

CCTV footage played to a Supreme Court trial on Tuesday showed Mr Osmani and Mr Arow fall into the gutter after they were shot from metres away. The footage showed other people outside the nightclub scatter as the Porsche sped away. Mr Osmani and Mr Arow both died in hospital.

Another security guard was shot in the right shoulder, while two patrons standing in a queue suffered wounds to their forearms when hit by the same bullet, prosecutor Patrick Bourke, QC, told the jury in an opening address.

Prosecutors allege Allan Fares drove the Porsche and his best friend, Jacob Elliott, was in the passenger seat and fired the shots from a handgun. The shooting occurred hours after Mr Elliott’s half-brother was thrown out of the nightclub for poor behaviour and amid what prosecutors allege was ongoing tension between his family and security at the nightclub.

“The Crown says that Mr Elliott and Mr Fares jointly had … an understanding among themselves to fire the four shots at the security guards and patrons standing outside the Love Machine nightclub and did so with an intention to kill people,” Mr Bourke said.

Jacob Elliott has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder.

Mr Elliott, 21, and Mr Fares, 24, have each pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and three alternative charges of intentionally causing serious injury.

Mr Bourke told the jury that about 1am on the night of the shooting, Love Machine security ejected Ali Maghnie from the nightclub and that an altercation occurred between him and guards in Little Chapel Street.

Mr Maghnie was agitated when he told the guards: “You’re all f—ed. You wait, I’m coming back.”

He then called his father, Nabil Maghnie, and later complained “these guards kicked the f— out of me,” Mr Bourke said.

As he made his way to his father’s Docklands unit, Ali Maghnie also called his half-brother, Mr Elliott. Soon after, Mr Elliott and Mr Fares drove from their respective homes in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

They met in Wollert, Mr Bourke said, where the stolen Porsche had been parked for a fortnight.

CCTV footage played to the jury shows the Porsche, followed by a silver Suzuki Swift, drive in the area around the Love Machine. Mr Bourke said the SUV drove past the nightclub several times before the shooting.

Footage captured in Wollert later that morning shows a burst of bright light. Prosecutors allege this was Mr Elliott and Mr Fares setting the Porsche alight before they ran to their vehicles.

Prosecutors also allege that in the following days, a third man, Moussa Hamka, assisted the murder accused with attempts to conceal and destroy evidence.

Police found the handgun in Mr Hamka’s bedroom, Mr Bourke said, and he is also accused of destroying a Suzuki Swift. But the trial heard there were two Swifts parked in a South Yarra street and that the wrong car was torched, and DNA evidence survived.

Mr Elliott later sent a message to his father, Nabil Maghnie, that was critical of “dumb c—s” over the mix-up.

Mr Hamka, 28, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assisting an offender. He is not accused of involvement in the shooting.

Lawyers for the accused men did not dispute Mr Fares drove the Porsche or that Mr Elliott fired the gun.

But Julie Condon, QC, for Mr Elliott, told jurors they wouldn’t be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that her client intended to kill.

Campbell Thomson, for Mr Fares, doubted prosecutors could prove the pair in the Porsche had an agreement to shoot at people. Mr Thomson said his client never had an intention for anyone to be shot.

Mr Hamka told police he received an anonymous message telling him to collect the gun from a park and did so for cash. His lawyer, David Cronin, questioned whether Mr Hamka knew the gun was used in the shooting or whether his associates were involved.

The jury will visit the nightclub on Wednesday.

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