The Sydney man who is in jail in connection to the execution of NSW Police employee Curtis Cheng has had his conviction thrown out on appeal. Mustafa Dirani will undergo a retrial into his involvement of the 2015 murder.
Dirani got a jail sentence of 28 years in 2019 after a guilty verdict of conspiracy to do acts in preparation of a terrorist act contrary to ss.11.5(1) and 101.6(1) of the Criminal Code.
The 2015 execution of Curtis Cheng
Curtis Cheng was 58 when he suffered a fatally gun shot as he exited NSW Police’s Parramatta headquarters. He was selected at random by the 15-year-old radicalised gunman who was also killed in a shoot-out with officers.
Three others — Raban Alou, Milad Atai and Talal Alameddine — received jail terms for their various roles in the shooting.
Dirani claimed that he was only planning on having lunch with Alou on that day.
Mr Cheng was an assistant management accountant working for the NSW Police Force as a civilian. He had worked there for 18 years prior to his death.
The court heard he was “innocently going about his normal affairs, walking down the street when he was selected randomly as the target for a terrorist attack”.
In a victim impact statement, his wife Selina Cheng said her husband was a harmless and gentle man.
Outside court, Mr Cheng’s son Alpha Cheng previously said his dad’s death had been an ordeal.
“Nothing will take away the pain and the trauma that our family has been put through,” he said.
The NSW Police headquarters now bears his name in order to honour the fallen man.
Criminal appeal successful, retrial ordered
His Honour Justice Johnson in the Supreme Court of NSW handed down Dirani’s sentence in 2019. Dirani got a sentence of: “a term of imprisonment of 28 years comprising a non-parole period of 21 years commencing on 13 November 2015 and expiring on 12 November 2036, with a balance of term of seven years commencing on 13 November 2036 and expiring on 12 November 2043”.
He launched an appeal following his initial conviction.
However, the written judgement for Dirani’s appeal won’t be published for a week. This is in order to give his criminal defence lawyer team and prosecutors some time. This allows them to think about if they want to ask for the suppression of any parts of the document.