Accused Surfers Paradise shooter granted bail
The man accused of shooting a father-of-three who was walking with his family in Surfers Paradise last December has been freed on bail.
Rick El Masri, 35, is charged with shooting Hylton Miller, 42, on December 4 last year after he fired a handgun indiscriminately from balcony of an apartment of high rise Circle on Cavill.
Mr Miller had been walking along The Esplanade with his wife, children and friends when he a bullet entered his arm and then penetrated his chest. He spent four months in hospital recovering.
Mr El Masri, a car dealer, was arrested on December 22 and charged with causing grievous bodily harm, two counts of dangerous conduct with a weapon and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Police have alleged Gold Coaster Mr El Masri was firing the illegal weapon at a strip club where he formerly worked, but the bullet hit Mr Miller.
At a bail hearing today in the Brisbane Supreme Court, defence barrister Tony Kimmins argued Mr El Masri had already spent seven and a half months on remand and if refused bail, he could spend more than two years in jail before his case could get to a trial.
Justice Jean Dalton ordered Mr El Masri be released, saying she did not consider him an unacceptable risk to the community.
She ordered his freedom on an $80,000 surety and a condition not to possess any firearms or have contact with two Crown witnesses who allege he was behind Mr Miller’s shooting.
The Crown had opposed his bail, arguing he had been in possession of an illegal firearm which he used to fire dangerously into the air that night.
Prosecutor Andrew Lossberg said Mr El Masri had a history of domestic violence and a history of making threats in domestic situations, as well as access to weapons.
He said the gun used to shoot Mr Miller has never been found and it was possible Mr El Masri could access it if allowed out of jail.
A false bottom of a drawer in his home was found when police searched his residence, which matched evidence from a witness who claimed that was the spot where Mr El Masri kept the gun, Mr Lossberg said.
Mr El Masri is also accused of firing the same weapon into a garage of a home in Molendinar, on the Gold Coast, on November 6 last year.
Charges were laid against him for that offence after police matched the bullet found in Mr Miller to the bullet fired into the garage.
Outside court Mr El Masri’s solicitor Mark Williams said his client would return to living at his address at Pacific Pines, where he was living before his arrest last year.
Mr El Masri is next due to face court in October for a committal hearing on all charges at Southport Magistrates Court.
Alleged Gold Coast sniper Rick El Masri, charged with shooting Hylton Miller, gets bail
THE alleged Gold Coast sniper who shot a father while he was walking in Surfers Paradise in December has been granted bail.
Rick El Masri, 35, of Pacific Pines, is charged with shooting father of three Hylton Miller, 43, as he was walking along the Surfers Paradise Esplanade with his family on December 4.
Brisbane Supreme Court judge Jean Dalton granted El Masri conditional bail, including that he post an $80,000 surety, obey a curfew, report to police daily and not possess a firearm.
However, Justice Dalton noted the Crown case against El Masri on a charge of causing Mr Miller grievous bodily harm was a strong one.
“I think there is a strong Crown case (against El Masri) on the grievous bodily harm,” she said during the hearing.
Barrister Tony Kimmins, for El Masri, said his client had been held in custody for seven-and-a-half months and was not scheduled to appear for a committal hearing on one count of GBH and three weapons offences until October.
Mr Kimmins said it was likely his client would not secure a trial before having spent 22 to 26 months in custody.
The Crown opposed the application