In a parked car in Melbourne in mid-2020, a disgruntled father-in-law and a hitman who was really a cop discussed exchanging money for murder, a court has been told.
In the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, parts of a transcript of the allegedly secretly recorded conversation in the car between Pierre Assaad and the undercover cop were read out loud by Pierre Assaad’s lawyer.
The court heard the taped conversation was about the potential contract killings of two people: Pierre Assaad’s former daughter-in-law and the pastor of his former Baptist church, Silas Issa.
Police allege Pierre Assaad thought he was speaking with a real hitman — who was actually a police officer recording the conversation.
Pierre Assaad, 51, and his son John Assaad, 28, are fighting a combined seven charges, including two counts each of conspiracy to murder.
Pierre Assaad paid a deposit for the hit on Mr Issa, police allege.
The former senior Baptist pastor had counselled Pierre Assaad’s ex-wife during the couple’s separation, Mr Issa told the court on Monday when giving evidence.
Pierre Assad was “95 per cent” certain he also wanted his former daughter-in-law taken out, police allege.
The woman had left her marriage with John, she told the court on Monday when she gave evidence.
Pierre Assaad told the fake hitman he wanted more time to think it over, his lawyer Rishi Nathwani told the court, the transcript showed.
The fake hitman was grilled in court on Tuesday by Mr Nathwani.
“Do you agree (Mr Assaad) was noncommittal in relation to the daughter-in-law, he was at the very least hoping to delay it?” Mr Nathwani asked the fake hitman.
“Yes, at that point in time,” the fake hitman replied.
The first option Pierre Assaad raised was planting drugs on his former daughter-in-law to try to have her deported to her birth country, his lawyer said, the transcript revealed.
The fake hitman responded: “I can’t guarantee with the outcome of that. I get you, but I have also seen people win (court cases)”, Mr Nathwani alleged to the court.
Pierre Assaad drew his finger across his throat and they began discussing a contract killing, the fake hitman alleged.
The fake hitman told Mr Assaad if he decided to go through with it, it would be “game over” for his former daughter-in-law, and he offered to convey a message to her before the deed was done, the court heard.
“She’ll disappear, that’s it,” the fake hitman allegedly said.
“No one will find the body.”
He told Pierre Assaad to gather a hard copy dossier of information on his former daughter-in-law and hand it over as confirmation to go ahead, the court heard.
This never happened, the fake hitman told the court.
On Monday, the former daughter-in-law told the court she decided to give her wedding ring back on the day John Assaad broke a chair leg over her back and hit her head with a frying pan because the shirt he was looking for was in the ironing bucket instead of where he expected it to be.
Pierre Assaad told the fake hitman he dreamt of her changing her mind, his lawyer told the court.
“It’s very sad but my son got married and she ripped him off,“ he allegedly said in the car.
“I’m so ashamed.
“I’m hoping she’ll wake up herself, what she’s done wrong.
“I had her in my dream yesterday and I said ‘Why have you done this my daughter, daughter-in-law?’”
On Monday, the former daughter-in-law and the pastor were separately quizzed by lawyers in court.
They each told of the “shock” they felt when police appeared on their doorsteps on June 18, 2020, to inform them two men had been charged with conspiring to kill them.
The hearing will continue in December.