The teenager charged with the attempted murder of a former bikie boss has been denied bail, with a Melbourne magistrate citing alleged links to a youth crime gang as among the reasons his risk to the community is too great.
Yasir Al Qassim, 18, will remain behind bars as he awaits trial over the failed June 25 hit on Sam Abdulrahim, a former Mongols boss turned professional boxer who was sprayed with bullets as he left his cousin’s funeral in the middle of the day.
In the Melbourne Supreme Court on Monday, Magistrate Donna Bakos cited Mr Al Qassim’s alleged ties to a Middle Eastern crime gang in Melbourne’s north and the fact his two co-accused’s fled the country on stolen passports as among the reasons to keep him incarcerated.
Mr Abdulrahim, 30, was driving in heavy traffic in Fawkner when a stolen grey Mazda pulled onto the wrong side of the road and fired seven shots into his black Mercedes G-Class.
Five of those shots hit Mr Abdulrahim, known in the boxing ring as “The Punisher”, who survived after being placed in intensive care in hospital.
The men who fired the shots crashed the getaway car into a fire hydrant before they carjacked a mother and her four-year-old son at gunpoint. Her car was later found torched in Epping, a suburb in Melbourne’s outer-north.
Mr Al Qassim, also of Epping, is charged by police of being central to the botched hit on Mr Abdulrahim on the grounds of buying fuel cans, phones and SIM cards, which were used by the co-accuseds to flee Australia, as well as being suspected of organising a false passport for one the shooters.
Police also allege his fingerprints were found on the cloned number plates of the stolen grey Mazda, and his DNA on gun cartridges at the scene of the shooting in Fawkner.
Defence barrister Adam Chernok told the court Mr Al Qassim was particularly vulnerable in custody, due to his age and his youthful features, and said he had work and family support available.
“Your honour, can see that he really is very baby-faced,” Mr Chernok told the court last week.
“He is 18, but he looks considerably younger … In my respectful submission, he is going into the adult system, his appearance alone, his tender age make him more vulnerable in that particular environment.”
Mr Chernok also submitted that a surety of $100,000 was on offer.
Among the additional concerns expressed by Magistrate Bakos was the allegation put forward by police that on July 24, Mr Al Qassim was seen driving a stolen Volkswagen to an abandoned demolition site and picking up a 12-gauge shotgun before dropping it and running after being spooked by patrolling police.
She said she considered the circumstantial case against Mr Al Qassim to be “strong”.