CCTV footage of the shoot-out at a Calwell home in 2018.
The only person convicted over the fiery shoot-out between rival bikies at a Canberra home in 2018 could be out of jail by the middle of next year, after he successfully argued for another charge against him to be dropped.
- Canberra bikie Axel Sidaros has had an additional charge against him dismissed
- Sidaros was originally sentenced to 14 years in jail
- After two appeals, he has now been sentenced to seven years with a non-parole period ending in July next year
Axel Sidaros, 25, has been through two trials, two appeals, and has employed some of the best lawyers in the country in his effort to beat the charges against him.
Sidaros was originally sentenced to 14 years in prison for his involvement in a shoot-out at the home of a former bikie boss, but that was cut to nine years and nine months after Sidaros’s second trial cleared him of an attempted murder charge.
On Monday, he managed to shave another couple of years off his sentence, as another charge of attempted arson with the intent of endangering the life of another person was dismissed.
The tensions which led to the attack at the home in Canberra’s south in 2018, had been building for weeks beforehand after members of Canberra’s Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang split.
The target, Peter Zdravkovic, had been the commander of the club, but at the time of the division, some members had sided with then-sergeant at arms Pitasoni Ulavalu, known as Soni.
During Sidaros’s trials, it was revealed Mr Zdravkovic had been seen as leaving the club in “bad standing’.
At one point Mr Zdravkovic posted images of himself on social media wearing his colours and holding the colours of others.
That provoked an incident when Mr Zdravkovic’s head was grazed with a bullet during a scuffle at his house.
After that, Mr Zdravkovic took to social media, where he appeared to burn the Comanchero colours, further angering rival bikie members.
Another charge dismissed on appeal
CCTV footage of the shoot-out shows three men creeping into the back garden of Mr Zdravkovic’s home.
Then shooting broke out, with Mr Zdravkovic running out of the house and firing back.
The court heard he had been in the shower when the shooting started.
The footage also shows a fourth man pouring petrol around the cars in Mr Zdravkovic’s driveway, and then a large explosion as they were torched and everyone fled.
Mr Zdravkovic lost the top of a finger in the attack.
Sidaros had a partial win on Monday with a charge of attempted arson intending to endanger life being dismissed.
Justice John Burns said the case had not proved Sidaros’s intent to cause harm.
“It is a reasonable hypothesis … that the intention of the intruders was to damage or destroy the property by fire and in doing so were reckless as to the possibility of any fire endangering the lives of any occupants of the house,” he said.
“In this context, recklessness would include an attitude of simply not caring whether the lives of any occupants were endangered.”
Sidaros had also attempted to challenge expert ballistics evidence used in his second trial.
Essentially an expert had found the marks on four cartridges at the scene were strikingly similar to those left by a gun owned by Sidaros.
The expert’s opinion was ruled inadmissible in the first trial, but evidence from him was allowed in Sidaros’s second trial.
One of the grounds of appeal by Sidaros was that the judge should not have concluded that the cartridges at the scene had been fired by his gun.
But the appeal court found the judge in the second trial had only reflected on the similarity of the markings, and added that he had drawn his inferences from all the evidence put together.
That left Sidaros with five charges against him, including intending to inflict grievous bodily harm on Mr Zdravkovic, firing a gun and attempted arson.
The appeal court has re-sentenced him to seven years in jail with a non-parole period ending in July next year.