Crime family patriarch dies of illness
May 4, 2012
AHMED Haddara, who was questioned over the murder of rival clan patriarch Macchour Chaouk, has died of natural causes.
Haddara and Chaouk were the heads of two rival Middle Eastern crime gangs operating in Melbourne’s west.
Chaouk, 65, was shot dead in the backyard of his Brooklyn home in August 2010.
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Police have yet to charge anyone over the shooting but days after the murder, Haddara, 57 at the time, was taken in for questioning.
He was later released without charge, but police said before he died he was ”a person of interest”. Haddara is believed to have been ill for some time.
At the height of the clan war, police placed a guard on Haddara’s home, also in Melbourne’s west, to prevent retaliation.
Chaouk is believed to have whispered the identity of his killer to family before he died.
Investigations, headed by Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles, are continuing. The Chaouk family has said it has faith the detective will bring the killer to justice.
Chaouk matriarch calls for an end to ongoing feud with rival clan
Defence lawyer Tas Roubos told a County Court plea hearing the Chaouk family had gone through a “cultural change” since patriarch Macchour Chaouk was gunned down in his back yard in August.
Mr Roubos said his wife, Fatma Chaouk, has taken control and she wants all of the outstanding criminal matters involving her family to be resolved so they can escape the feud.
“The family is seriously contemplating moving from Melbourne,” Mr Roubos said.
“It’s just not tenable to remain in Melbourne any more.”
Mr Roubos said Mrs Chaouk’s attitude to the war between the families was “this has to end”.
Judge McInerney commented: ”I am sure the community will be very pleased if it does end.”
Today Fatma’s son, Matwali Chaouk, 26, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to a number of firearms offences, which Mr Roubos said stemmed from the feud with the Haddaras and the tit-for-tat violence.
Mr Roubos said Fatma Chaouk did not want her family to be involved in the continual spiral of violence and she had given the homicide squad unprecedented co-operation in the hunt for her husband’s killer.
He said Mrs Chaouk had cancer and a limited life span and it would be a disaster for Matwali Chaouk if his mother died while he was in jail.
“The last five years have been nothing but doom and gloom for this family,” the defence lawyer told Judge Michael McInerney.
Marwali Chaouk pleaded guilty to charges that being a prohibited person he was in possession of two handguns and a pump-action sawn-off shotgun, between June and July this year.
He also pleaded guilty to possession of quantities of ammunition that could be used in the weapons between the same dates.
Prosecutor Mark Gibson said members of the Santiago Taskforce initiated a search warrant on a garage in Brooklyn and found Chaouk had a loaded .22 calibre Llama hand gun in a bum bag.
A raid on his house uncovered a quantity of ammunition.
Mr Gibson said that on July 1, the taskforce raided the main Chaouk family home in Brooklyn and found a Ruger pump-action shotgun hidden in a wall behind a cupboard and a fully-loaded Sterm Ruger Magnum hand gun in a woodpile in the back yard.
A quantity of various kinds of ammunition was found and Chaouk wrote a statement in jail saying all of the weaponry belonged to him.
Mr Roubos said his client had the weapons for self-protection and because of the feud with the Haddaras where there was a constant threat and people reacted to events quickly.
Although the possession of the guns charges carry a 15-year maximum Mr Gibson argued for a jail sentence of between 12 and 18 months.
The defence counsel said his client should get less because of his age and his mother’s health problems.
He said Chaouk is being held in 23-hour a day lockdown in Barwon Jail’s Acacia Unit, which he likened to a form of torture.
Mr Roubos said jail authorities used the murder in custody of gangland boss Carl Williams as an excuse to insist the lockdown is necessary to protect his client.
Judge McInerney will sentence Chaouk on November 11.