A Kenyan refugee accused of murdering a teenager during a vicious brawl didn’t take part in the alleged attack, a court was told.
Girum Mekonnen, 19, was fatally stabbed when a gang of African youths allegedly attacked him and his mates at Zillmere park in Brisbane on September 13.
Police later charged 13 men over his murder, including Malat Akoi Makuach.
The former refugee from Kenya has spent the past two months in solitary confinement over concerns for his welfare inside the prison system.
Girum Mekonnen, 19, (pictured) was fatally stabbed when a gang of African youths allegedly attacked him and his mates at Zillmere park in Brisbane on September 13
Makuach has admitted being at O’Callaghan Park when the alleged attack happened, but claims he stayed in a car during the assault.
‘There’s no direct evidence of him leaving the car,’ lawyer John McInnes told the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday.
‘It’s a somewhat limited prosecution case on murder,’ he said as he pressed his client’s application for bail.
Makuach also denies knowing weapons had been taken from the car’s boot, saying he only spotted them after the alleged attack.
A man covers his head (pictured) as he is driven into the Brisbane Watchhouse in relation to the alleged murder
A police officer gathers crime scene tape near a small memorial where flowers were laid at the site of a fatal stabbing
The scene of a fatal stabbing and brawl at, O’Callaghan Park in Zillmere, Brisbane, Monday, September 14
Prosecutor Steven Dickson admitted there was no evidence to contradict Makuach’s claim he stayed in the car.
‘(But) his version of being unaware of what was going on is implausible,’ he said.
He said Makuach willingly got into a car and drove in a convoy with three other vehicles to an area near the park.
CCTV footage also records an armed group walking near to where the cars were parked.
‘The weapons that are used are large and … he also received a call from (co-accused Ben Abio) to pick him up after the (alleged) offence,’ he said.
Mr Dickson said Makuach had involved himself in a plan to assault people and should be denied bail.
Friends have explained Girum (pictured) was simply ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ at the time of his death
But Justice Peter Callaghan disagreed, saying there was no allegation Makuach caused any injuries or was armed on the day.
‘Nor even that he was a direct participant in the physical activity that took place during the attack,’ he said.
‘No witnesses implicate him in it and there is no objective indication that he was involved.’
The court heard that if Makuach is convicted it will be under section eight of the criminal code for the consequences of the group’s attack, as opposed to his own actions.
‘Even then, the evidence capable of implicating him is confined,’ Justice Callaghan said.
Girum (pictured) is thought to have gotten caught up in a violent brawl by warring gangs
He granted Makuach bail with strict conditions, including wearing an electronic tracking device, a 24-hour curfew, living with his uncle and reporting to police on a daily basis.
He’s the fifth man from the group of 13 to be released on bail.
Police have previously said the melee broke out after the youths descended on the playing fields seeking retribution for another incident on September 8.
All told, paramedics took 11 people to hospital suffering stab wounds and blunt force injuries from knives, baseball bats and other weapons after the attack.
Some of the victims were stabbed in their torso, pelvis, head and face.
The men’s cases are scheduled for a committal mention in Brisbane Magistrates Court on March 15.
A number of people sustained wounds during the attack. Pictured: Family members of victims at the hospital