Difficulties in preparing for an attempted murder trial from behind bars have meant a Sydney man accused of shooting gang member Samer Marcus has walked free.
On Wednesday, Luke John Sparos successfully applied for bail over eight months before his NSW Supreme Court trial is due to begin.
Justice Ian Harrison accepted arguments that conditions in jail prevented Sparos, 31, from trawling through an expected 900 gigabytes of evidence while behind bars.
The material included over 1000 hours of surveillance footage and more than 3000 hours of recorded conversations from listening devices.
“I have taken account of the fact that Mr Sparos will not be able properly or adequately to prepare his case for trial in a custodial setting,” the judge wrote.
An earlier bail attempt was rejected in May last year after Justice Hament Dhanji found that while conditions in jail were “clearly not satisfactory”, there was a chance they could improve.
The Yowie Bay man was arrested in May 2021 and has been in custody since.
He is charged with shooting Marcus with an intent to murder and smashing his mobile phone at Surry Hills Police Station following his arrest with an intent to pervert the course of justice. He has pleaded not guilty.
Marcus was shot eight times and left a quadriplegic outside a home at Denham Court on the night of November 6, 2020. He is said to have been associated with street gang DLASTHR or “The Last Hour”.
The Crown argues that the shooting was a revenge attack after Marcus allegedly assaulted Sparos with a makeshift weapon while the pair were in jail together.
Sparos argued the case against him was weak, saying there was doubt as to whether the victim recognised him during the attack. He also said there were no witnesses, and no gunshot residue or DNA linking him to the shooting.
Justice Harrison found the circumstantial case was not weak, but acknowledged it contained some “frailties”.
“In my view, the combination of Mr Sparos’ wholly unsatisfactory access to the brief of evidence, coupled with the identified frailties in the crown case, coalesce to satisfy me that Mr Sparos has shown cause why his continued detention is not justified,” he said.
Conditions of bail include that Sparos remain on good behaviour while residing at an address in the southern Sydney suburb of Yowie Bay.
He will only be allowed to leave the house for legal and medical reasons, and is barred from contacting prosecution witnesses, taking illicit drugs, leaving NSW, or applying for an Australian passport.
A total of $2.1 million has also been put up as security to ensure Sparos returns to court as required.