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Legal Citation of the Case

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    Dominic Li- Satorre v R, R v AB, R v Tan – Acid attack and murder Elements of the crime:

    Dominic Li was attacked by two men in his home in December 2002. Dominic Li was an accountant whose brother-in-law, Phillip Ma, owed money to Yonky Irvan Tan. Tan, who was a distributor or drugs developed the attack on Li in order to flush out Li’s brother who had disappeared. Hydrochloric acid was poured on his face and mouth which left him blind, with a burnt oesophagus that blocked his breathing. He died three weeks later. Elements of the case include the planning of the event by Tan. In doing this he possessed a ‘guilty mind’ which is known as the men’s rea. The actual physical carrying out of the crime ‘the actus reus’ falls onto the two men who attacked Li with the acid, which lead to his death three weeks later. Factors leading to criminal behaviour:

    Factors that lead to the crime being committed were to do with economics. It was an extortion attempt and a contract killing by Tan who was after the return of his money, this formed the motive to do it. Tan planned to use the murder of Li as a means of discovering his brother-in-law’s whereabouts and to alert Ma that Tan was seeking him out. Reporting and investigation of the crime:

    The attack was reported to police by Dominic Li’s wife who was forced to watch as her husband had hydrochloric acid poured down his throat. The men disappeared before ambulance services arrived. IT intercept, surveillance footage, DNA found at the scene and local court intelligence quickly uncovered identities and five arrest warrants were issued. In June 2003 the fifth and final arrest was made.

    By Hannah Lonergan
    The Role of the Courts:
    The Central Local Court helped with the arrest and conviction of some of the members of the team that assisted in killing Li. However the overall case was in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in Australia and has both original and appellate jurisdiction. Justice Price described the crime as one of the worst he had ever seen due to its barbaric nature. In the Dominic Li case there was the use of a judge, magistrates, a jury and the accused were given defence barrister’s. Barrister’s are lawyers who provide specialist services in Courts and Tribunals. The Plea:

    Three of the men charged with Li’s murder pleaded not guilty of murder to begin with. However with further investigation all five men aged between 24 to 39 were charged with murder and conspiring to conflict grievous bodily harm. Two of them were charged with actually conflicting grievous bodily harm while the other three men face charges of being an accessory to the crime. Satorre, who was the driver of the vehicle belonging to the attacker’s did plead guilty to the crime and supplied evidence against the other men convict.

    In return for acting as driver, Satorre was promised $1,000 and a continuing supply of methamphetamine, to which he was addicted, the court was told.

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    AdvertisementCrown Prosecutor Patrick Power, SC, said Satorre was less culpable than those who allegedly carried out the attack.

    But he knew of the plan to disfigure Mr Li with acid, even if he didn’t realise there was “an intention to pour the acid down the victim’s throat”, Mr Power said.

    Satorre, 38, expressed sorrow for what happened to Mr Li, and regret for the suffering he had caused the accountant’s widow, Chau Ma, and teenage son.

    “I know I’ve caused them so much grief, pain and suffering,” he told the
    court.

    “I don’t think any human being … should experience or witness a horrific crime.

    “I hope these people can forgive me for the bad things I did.”

    Defence counsel Mitchell Paish asked Justice Timothy Studdert to take into account Satorre’s guilty plea, remorse and intention to give evidence against his alleged co-offenders for sentencing.

    A sixth man, Emil Chang, 41, also was charged with murder. But he died in a Bangkok prison before he could be extradited from Thailand to Australia last month. Police allege that, at the centre of the “bungled contract assault/murder”, was Yonky Irvin Tan, according to a statement of facts tendered today to Central Local Court.

    Richard Burton Nimmo and Maua Sua hit Dominic Li in the head before pouring hydrochloric acid on his face and into his mouth in a “violent and brutal attack” witnessed by his wife, the NSW Supreme Court heard today. The attack happened on the verandah of Mr Li’s Concorde home in December 2002. Mr Nimmo and Mr Sua were hired to attack Mr Li for “payment of a significant amount of money’, Crown Prosecutor Chris Maxwell, QC, said in his opening address. Mr Nimmo, Mr Sua and a third man Yonky Tan have all pleaded not guilty of murdering Mr Li who died in hospital three weeks after the attack. “The acid had been poured onto his eyes and some indeed went into his mouth which he swallowed, the effects of which were horrific,” Mr Maxwell said. “He was blinded, but even more significantly his vitals organs were damaged.” In April 2002, Mr Tan had approached Mr Li, who had been his accountant, saying he had a large amount of money to invest, Mr Maxwell said. Mr Li introduced Mr Tan to his brother-in-law, Phillip Ma, saying Mr Ma would be able to assist with the investment. Mr Ma and Mr Tan then embarked on an arrangement in which Mr Ma, a professional gambler, would launder the money at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, Mr Maxwell said. But when Mr Ma lost more than $500,000 he went into hiding to avoid Mr Tan, the court heard. “Unable to contact Mr Ma the direction or focus was more towards the person whose address they did have … and that was Dominic Li,” Mr Maxwell said. The trial before Justice Derek Price continues.

    He is one of three men charged with Mr Li’s murder. Police allege the other men, Richard Burton and Maua Sua, were to be paid a share of $10,000 for the attack. All three men have pleaded not guilty to murder. The crown alleges Tan organised the attack in a bid to flush Mr Ma out of hiding. Five men, aged 24 to 39, have all been charged with murder and conspiring to conflict grievous bodily harm. Two of them also were charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm while the other three face additional charges of being an accessary. A sixth man, Emil Chang, 41, also was charged with murder. But he died in a Bangkok prison before he could be extradited from Thailand to Australia last month. Police allege that, at the centre of the “bungled contract assault/murder”, was Yonky Irvin Tan, according to a statement of facts tendered today to Central Local Court. Tan allegedly conspired with Harold Evangelista Amurao, Maua Sua, Richard Burton Nimmo and Dax Satorre to carry out the murder. In court today, magistrate Allan Moore remanded four of the five men in custody, to reappear in the same court on September 21. The fifth man was still awaiting a decision on bail.

    Although he was the driver, Dax Satorre knew that the contract killers he was escorting planned to pour hydrochloric acid down an innocent man’s throat. Satorre, a drug addict at the time, was to be paid $1000 for the job. In sentencing him yesterday to 16 years’ jail for murder, with a non-parole period of 12 years, a judge said that although Satorre did not know that Dominic Li would die, his role in the shocking crime was serious. Mr Li, 45, of Concord, died after two men, Richard Burton Nimmo and Maua Sua, both 24, allegedly pistol-whipped him on his front porch and poured acid down his throat, in front of his family, on December 13, 2002. He died three weeks later. Mr Li was targeted after a drug syndicate operating in Maroubra accused his wife’s brother, Phillip Ma, of gambling $500,000 it wanted him to invest. Satorre became involved in the attack through a go-between and two other men. Justice Timothy Studdert said Satorre, 38, was aware Mr Li would at least be permanently and seriously disfigured. “There could be no question that the crime which resulted in the death of the deceased was a most grave crime,” he said. Advertisement

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    “Whilst the prisoner did not participate in the actual attack upon the deceased, his role in the crime was a very meaningful one. It involved an appreciation that the victim, who was a complete stranger to him, was going to be assaulted in a most cruel fashion. “The prisoner must have appreciated that the planned attack would be resisted and that there was a very real risk that the acid could enter the victim’s eyes and mouth.” Satorre was born in the Philippines and moved to Australia in 1988, aged 16. He came from a supportive family, Justice Studdert said, but he developed an addiction to methylamphetamine (also known as shaboo), when his de facto wife left him for another man in 2001. The judge took into account several drug supply charges in sentencing him. Justice Studdert accepted that Satorre was remorseful and he acknowledged his help to police, including agreeing to give evidence against the others. One of the alleged masterminds of the attack, Emil Chang, 41, has since committed suicide in a Bangkok jail. A drug addict admitted his part in the contract killing of a Sydney accountant who died after acid was poured down his throat at gunpoint.

    Dominic Li was confronted by two gunmen at his Concord home, in Sydney’s inner west, on December 13, 2002, the NSW Supreme Court was told today.

    As his wife looked on, hydrochloric acid was poured into Mr Li’s mouth and over his face, blinding him and causing severe burns.

    The 45-year-old died in hospital three weeks later, his respiratory system destroyed by the acid.

    According to documents tendered to the court, a plan to disfigure the accountant with acid was allegedly hatched by a man owed money by Mr Li’s brother-in-law, Phillip Ma.

    The alleged mastermind had been chasing Mr Ma for the money and wanted to flush him out by targeting Mr Li, the court was told.

    Dax Satorre, who drove the alleged attackers to and from Mr Li’s home, pleaded guilty to murder at the start of a sentencing hearing today.

    In return for acting as driver, Satorre was promised $1,000 and a continuing supply of methamphetamine, to which he was addicted, the court was told.

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    AdvertisementCrown Prosecutor Patrick Power, SC, said Satorre was less culpable than those who allegedly carried out the attack.

    But he knew of the plan to disfigure Mr Li with acid, even if he didn’t realise there was “an intention to pour the acid down the victim’s throat”, Mr Power said.

    Satorre, 38, expressed sorrow for what happened to Mr Li, and regret for the suffering he had caused the accountant’s widow, Chau Ma, and teenage son.

    “I know I’ve caused them so much grief, pain and suffering,” he told the court.

    “I don’t think any human being … should experience or witness a horrific crime.

    “I hope these people can forgive me for the bad things I did.”

    Defence counsel Mitchell Paish asked Justice Timothy Studdert to take into account Satorre’s guilty plea, remorse and intention to give evidence against his alleged co-offenders for sentencing.

    Four other men – including the alleged mastermind and two alleged attackers – have been charged with Mr Li’s murder.

    They have yet to enter pleas and are due to appear in Central Local Court on April 5.

    Justice Studdert said that as the driver, Satorre played a very important role in the “dreadful crime”.

    “This was a contract killing, with the added element that they were intending to cause much pain,” he said.

    “It’s not done with any contention of justification by anybody; it’s done for money, and that applies to (Satorre) as well as the people who carried guns and acid.”

    Justice Studdert remanded Satorre in custody for sentencing on a date to be fixed. Dominic Li died several weeks after hydrochloric acid was poured onto his face and down his throat in 2002. Yonky Irvin Tan was convicted over organising his murder. Two other men accused of being involved in the attack were acquitted. The Supreme Court has been told that the attack was an attempt to find Mr Li’s brother-in-law, who had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars given to him by Tan, to launder through a casino. In handing down Tan’s sentence today, Justice Derek Price said it was an act of barbarity to contract others to grotesquely disfigure an innocent man. He said the attack involved extreme cruelty and inflicted ghastly injuries on Mr Li, who died a slow and horrible death. Justice Price said the crime fell within the worst category of the offence of murder. Speaking outside the court, Detective Inspector Murray Chapman, said investigators were pleased with the sentence. “The judge certainly found that it was of the highest level of being a pre-mediated contract attack, and that it was a horrific and vicious crime,” he said.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Court-hears-of-plan-to-disfigure-victim/2006/10/05/1159641455180.html http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/brutal-murder-a-twisted-tale-of-revenge/2006/12/01/1164777794976.html http://books.google.com.au/books?id=XfI3-iznx0oC&pg=PA212&lpg=PA212&dq=R+v+Ta

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