Tongan found guilty of drive-by shooting in Australia

By Elizabeth Byrne

A Tongan Comanchero club member along with another member have been found guilty of shooting the former member of a rival bikie gang two years ago in Canberra.

Lihai Vimahi, 24, and Daniel Grech, 27, were found guilty of discharging a firearm but cleared of the more serious charge of causing the Rebel member grievous bodily harm.

Prosecutors told the court they believed the shooting was part of a dispute between the rival gangs, with one witness telling the court that Vimahi told her the Rebel deserved to be shot.

The court also heard that Vimahi had admitted to the witness a gun he owned had been used to shoot a Rebel.

Justice Stephen Walmsley said the victim was shot as he smoked outside a home in the Canberra suburb of Stirling late in the evening on March 12, 2015.

Justice Walmsley said he accepted the pair had gone to the house to shoot the man, each armed with a firearm.

“They took the shots at [the victim] and then they left,” he said.

But Justice Walmsley found the man had not suffered grievous bodily harm after hearing evidence from the victim’s former partner.

She told the court that only months later her former partner had subjected her to a violent rape lasting four hours, in which he picked her up multiple times.

The man has not yet been sentenced over the rape.

The woman’s evidence was important for Vimahi and Grech, meaning they now face the significantly lower maximum penalty of five years, compared to 20 years for the more serious charge.

Justice Walmsley also found the pair were not guilty of charges relating to a second incident in the nearby suburb of Kambah on the same night, when shots were fired into an unoccupied house.

Vimahi and Grech were charged with discharging a firearm so as to cause another person reasonable apprehension for their safety. But the man they were allegedly targeting, who is also a Rebels associate, was not home.

Grech has been found guilty of possessing an illegal firearm.

The two are expected to be sentenced in June.



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