On Saturday 22 October 2016, Ionut Lazar was shot dead at a west London flat on Askew Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London. Mr Lazar was shot in the chest two days after arriving in the UK from Romania.
Four defendants aged between 19 and 21 were charged with the robbery and murder of Mr Lazar. James Scobie QC and Bernard Tetlow QC represented defendant two (Hanad Mohammed) and four (Sufyan Elbakkali) who were charged with murder, manslaughter and robbery.
The defendants were alleged to have robbed a drug dealer at knife and gunpoint on Askew Road and then taken him to his flat. There were several others at the flat, one of whom put up resistance and was allegedly shot during the course of the robbery by defendant one, who was in possession of a handgun. The others were alleged to have assisted defendant one.
CCTV cameras placed all four defendants at the scene of the incident and all four admitted presence at the scene of the robbery and inside the premises where the shooting took place.
The Crown put the case on a joint enterprise basis on the basis they all arrived at the scene together, entered the premises together and ran from the scene in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. The Crown were able to point out that all five of the suspects stayed together after the shooting, as they were caught as a group on CCTV after the incident.
Following a five-week trial at the Old Bailey, all four defendants were acquitted on 10 August 2017 after giving evidence denying there was any robbery as alleged by a Crown witness, and they denied knowledge of the carrying of a gun by one of their number. A fifth suspect was still on the run.
James Scobie QC led Robert Ward of 15 New Bridge Street and was instructed by Robert Layton of Robert Layton & Co solicitors. Bernard Tetlow QC led Graham Arnold of Farringdon Chambers and was instructed by Neeru Hutchinson of Appleby Shaw Solicitors.