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Jail term cut over fatal Sydney gunfight

A man involved in a “deplorable” daylight gunfight in which his brother killed a Sydney underworld figure has won a cut in his jail term.

Mahmoud Ahmad, 38, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Safwan Charbaji in April 2016 in Condell Park, outside premises owned by his brother Walid Ahmad.

The brother fired the fatal shots but died three weeks later in another shooting.

In the NSW Supreme Court last September, Mahmoud Ahmad was jailed for seven years with a non-parole period of five years and three months.

“The deplorable fact is that a gunfight broke out in broad daylight in a Sydney suburb, with the result that the life of a fellow human being was snuffed out,” Justice Richard Button said.

Ahmad was sentenced on the basis of being part of “an extended joint criminal enterprise”.

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday allowed his sentence challenge, reducing his term to six years with a non-parole period of four years and six months.

He will now be eligible for parole on September 20.

Justices Mark Leeming, Ian Harrison and Christine Adamson accepted that the sentencing judge failed to attribute a specific discount for his assistance in explaining his involvement in the gunfight.

“We proceed on the basis that there was a relatively weak Crown case, the weakness extending to difficulties in negativing self-defence on the part of the applicant’s brother when he shot the deceased,” they said.

An affray and subsequent gunfight, partially captured on CCTV, took place between two groups of men, referred to in the statement of agreed facts as the “Ahmad group” and the “Elmirs”.

Ahmad was an “active participant” although he did not originally possess a firearm, but took a semi-automatic revolver from a wounded associate.

“It is not clear from the footage, but the applicant accepted that he fired one warning shot after there had been an exchange of shots between the two groups,” the court said.

In re-sentencing Ahmad, the judges accepted he provided assistance to the Crown, which otherwise did not have a strong case.

“We shall proceed on the basis that what the applicant said as to his involvement was truthful and complete and reliable.”

They agreed the offence was a serious example of manslaughter.

“In taking possession of that weapon, the offender was continuing his participation in the affray.

“And he was doing so aware not only that his brother was armed at the time with a semiautomatic pistol, and that he had discharged it shortly beforehand, but also aware that there was a possibility that a person could subsequently be unlawfully killed.”

Justice Button had accepted Ahmad bitterly regretted involving himself in the events giving rise to the shooting, and that his guilty plea was a public acceptance of responsibility for a fatality.

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