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Bid to bring notorious gang leader to Sydney

Bassam Hamzy’s lawyers say his maximum security conditions make it too hard to prepare for a case against the NSW Police.

Bassam Hamzy’s lawyers have made an audacious bid to bring the notorious Brothers 4 Life founder to Sydney next week as they attempt to block NSW Police from using letters he sent from jail against him.

Hamzy in 2019 launched proceedings in the Supreme Court that would prevent police from using documents sent to his former lawyer Martin Churchill to support allegations he was running a drug ring from behind bars.

Police allege the documents seized from Goulburn’s Supermax prison, where Hamzy is locked up, contain evidence of the operation.

The convicted murderer, who is serving a 40-year sentence for a range of crimes, claims those files should remain confidential and can’t be used against him under client legal privilege laws.

During a hearing on Monday his barrister, Dymphna Hawkins, asked for the matter to return to court next week to allow the gang leader to appear in person so his legal team could have a proper meeting.

She said his solicitor, Zali Burrows, had struggled to obtain proper instructions from Hamzy due to his maximum security conditions making it too difficult to meet and speak.

Her client was also wary about sending on fresh legal documents to his lawyers from jail as they would be read by Corrective Services staff, the court was told.

“I he were allowed to come to Sydney and come to court, myself and Ms Burrows would be able to spend an extensive time with him,” Ms Hawkins told the court.

She said Hamzy wanted to meet in person because once his letters were copied and sent to her and Ms Burrows, he might again lose his legal privilege.

Justice Richard Button, however, was not swayed.

Justice Button acknowledged the logistical problems posed by Hamzy’s incarceration, the distance between Goulburn and Sydney and issues around COVID-19.

He said the situation was no different from the “literally thousands of matters” that had been run with clients appearing via video links since the pandemic began.

“It’s very hard for me to accept that he should be brought from Goulburn to here just for a mention so you and Ms Burrows can see him at length,” he said.

“I’m afraid you’ll just have to do your best in that regard.”

Ms Hawkins pressed that Hamzy should be brought to Sydney for the hearing proper in June.

Justice Button again said he would not be making that order and Hamzy could attend via video link, as he did on Monday.

Manu Jaireth, acting for the police commissioner, said the police intended to use documents seized from Mr Churchill – that are identical to the ones taken from Hamzy in jail – in their defence.

Mr Jaireth said one of the reasons why it would be argued Hamzy’s documents were not privileged was because they were sent “in furtherance of a crime”.

Justice Button rejected that argument, saying it would undermine the whole case if the police were able to rely on the same documents that were at the heart of the dispute.

He set down a two-day hearing to begin before him on June 15.

Source: Daily Telegraph | World News

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