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Judgment Summary

Supreme Court
New South Wales

R v Droudis (No. 14) [2016] NSWSC 1550


Johnson J
Oral Summary Delivered on Date of Publication of Reasons

The statement I will now make constitutes a summary only of the reasons of the Court for its
verdict. The full reasons will be published shortly as part of the orders I will make after reading
this statement. This summary is not intended to be an exhaustive summary of all issues in the
trial. It seeks to cover the principal issues only. The summary should not be taken as a
substitute for the full reasons and should not be used in any later consideration of the Courts
reasons.

The Court is sitting today to give its verdict, and its reasons for the verdict, following a murder
trial which proceeded without a jury. Both the Accused and the Crown sought that the trial
proceed without a jury. Under the law of this State, the Court is required to proceed with a
Judge-alone trial in those circumstances and I have done so.

In the late afternoon of Sunday, 21 April 2013, a 30-year old woman entered an apartment block
at Werrington, in the western suburbs of Sydney, for the purpose of collecting her two sons, aged
nine and five years, after an access visit with her former husband, the father of the boys. The
father was Man Haron Monis (Monis). As the woman climbed the stairway to the third floor,
where Monis apartment was located, she was attacked by a person who stabbed her 18 times to
the upper torso, back and arms, and then doused her with a flammable liquid before setting her
alight with the aid of matches.

It is the Crown case that Monis planned the murder of his former wife and then put the plan into
effect with his then partner, the Accused, Amirah Droudis, carrying out the fatal attack.

It is common knowledge that Monis died in the early hours of Tuesday, 16 December 2014 in the
Lindt Caf in Martin Place, Sydney. It is, of course, not a function of this criminal trial to consider
the events which occurred in the Lindt Caf on 15 and 16 December 2014. That is the task of the
State Coroner presiding at an inquest.

What may be said, however, is that if Monis was still alive, he would be seated next to the
Accused in the dock facing trial for his alleged involvement in the murder of his former wife.
Monis had been charged, in November 2013, with being an accessory before and after the fact to
the murder of his former wife.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

I will not identify the name of the former wife of Monis. To do so is likely to identify her two sons.
For the same reason, I will not identify by name her parents, being the grandparents of the two
boys. As will be seen, the desire to have custody of these two boys lies at the heart of this
murder trial. The law of this State provides the two boys with protection against identification
(s.15A Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987) and I have fortified that protection by nonpublication orders with respect to the names of their mother and their grandparents. It is hoped
that these steps will maximise the prospect that the two boys can lead normal lives not linked to
the circumstances in which their mother died, as revealed in the decision of the Court. However,
it is important that the boys mother, as the victim of this crime, not be deprived of human identity
in the reasons of the Court. I will refer to her as Helen Lee which, of course, is not her real
name.

The judgment of the Court, as required by law, sets out the principles of law and directions which
the Court must consider and apply in reaching a verdict.

In this summary, I will refer only to three important legal principles.

10

Firstly, the onus lies upon the Crown to prove the guilt of the Accused for the crime of murder
and to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. The Accused is presumed innocent unless and until
the Crown proves her guilty of the crime of murder. The Accused does not have to prove
anything. The onus of proof never shifts from the Crown to the Accused on any issue in the
circumstances of this trial. The central issue in the trial is whether the Crown has proved beyond
reasonable doubt that the Accused was the killer.

11

Secondly, the Crown case is a circumstantial one. To prove the guilt of the Accused beyond
reasonable doubt, the Crown must prove that the only reasonable inference or conclusion that
can be drawn from all the established facts, is that it was the Accused who killed Helen Lee. If
there is any other reasonable inference or conclusion open on the facts that is inconsistent with
that conclusion, then the Crowns circumstantial case fails and the Accused should be acquitted.

12

Thirdly, the Accused did not give evidence at the trial. The onus of proof lies on the Crown from
first to last in the trial. The Accused was entitled to say nothing if she so elected. The decision
of the Accused not to give evidence cannot be used against her in any way, nor can it be used to
strengthen the Crown case. The Court must determine whether the Accused has been proved
guilty of murder by reference to evidence given or tendered at the trial.

13

A great deal of the evidence tendered at the trial was not in dispute. The Court received a
substantial volume of documentary, photographic, video and audio evidence. A challenge was
made to the credibility or reliability of evidence of a limited number only of Crown and defence
witnesses. The trial was conducted with great efficiency by the legal representatives for the
parties, in a manner which has assisted the Court in the discharge of its duties.

14

The Court has considered three broad issues:


(a)

Has the Crown proved beyond reasonable doubt that Monis planned, and put into effect, the
murder of Helen Lee?

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

(b)

Has the Crown proved beyond reasonable doubt that the killer was a woman?

(c)

Has the Crown proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Accused was the killer?

15

The Crown argued, and the defence accepted, that the first and second of these questions
should be answered in the affirmative. Senior Counsel for the Accused made clear that this
approach was taken because of the strength of the evidence in the Crown case on those two
questions, and not as a result of any admission or knowledge of the Accused.

16

It remains a matter for the Court, as the tribunal of fact, to consider the first two questions by
reference to all the evidence. I have kept in mind, in considering the first question, that there is
no one speaking for Monis in this trial and the Court should consider his position carefully by
reference to the evidence and the onus and standard of proof.

17

As will be seen, answers to the first and second questions will shed considerable light upon the
answer to the third question, the critical issue in this trial, that is whether the Crown has proved
that the Accused is the killer.

18

The appropriate starting point is Monis and his activities and relationships, including those with
Helen Lee and the Accused.

19

Monis was born in Iran in 1964 and came to Australia in about 1996. He has gone by various
names. For present purposes, it is sufficient to note that he went by the name of Man Haron
Monis (between November 2006 and December 2014), whilst using the first name Michael for
some purposes. He also used the persona Sheikh Haron from 2007 to about 2010 for the
purpose of espousing extremist political and religious views by use of a website, and through
other public activities to which reference will be made.

20

Between about 2000 and 2008, Monis held himself out to be a spiritual healer and clairvoyant,
advertising his services in local and community (including ethnic community) newspapers. It is
apparent that a number of women met Monis in the course of his spiritual healing and clairvoyant
business, and that he had sexual contact with a number of them.

21

In early 2003, Helen Lee (then aged 20 years) met Monis after she responded to an
advertisement in a community newspaper with respect to his spiritual healing business. Later in
2003, Monis and Helen Lee became engaged and married in a religious ceremony. Sons were
born of the marriage in 2004 and 2008.

22

The Accused was born Anastasia Droudis in July 1979 of Greek Orthodox background. It
appears that Monis first came into contact with the Accuseds family in about June 2003, when
the Accuseds mother, Soula Droudis, made an appointment to see Monis in his spiritual healing
business.

23

Monis and the Accused commenced a sexual relationship by at least 2006, and their relationship
continued until 21 April 2013 and beyond.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

24

As a result of her association with Monis, the Accused converted to Islam and changed her first
name from Anastasia to Amirah. The Accused had a daughter from a previous relationship (born
in 2001). The Accuseds daughter also converted to Islam as a result of her mothers association
with Monis.

25

From late 2007, Monis gave himself the title Sheikh Haron and set up and maintained a website
in that name. Monis espoused extremist religious and political views which were propagated on
that website. Monis used a number of women as participants in videos which he had scripted. I
am satisfied that each video was made for the purpose of posting on the website or on YouTube,
although not all of them came to be posted. The content of these videos was extreme and
offensive in nature and sheds considerable light upon the beliefs and attributes of Monis at the
time.

26

Eleven videos featuring the Accused, under the guise of Sister Amirah, were made between
April and December 2008. Not all of the videos were posted to the website or YouTube, but the
Accused would have expected, in each case, that the video which she made could be posted
publicly on the website and YouTube.

27

In each of these 11 videos, the Accused appeared wearing a black niqab. In the course of
lengthy presentations, scripted by Monis, the Accused praised Osama Bin Laden, delivered a
fatwa against Present-elect Barack Obama for apostasy, expressed happiness about the
September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States of America, the Bali bombings in October
2002 and the Holocaust, described the Bali bombers as martyrs, called upon people to join the
army of Islam and warned the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, that Australians would be
attacked and killed by Muslims. In each of these videos, the Accused is seen reading Monis
scripts with feeling and passion.

28

This may be contrasted with the appearance of other women whom Monis used in this way.
These other women, described in the trial as Females B, M and P, each made one video. Each
woman appeared in a black niqab and recited Monis script in a flat, if not deadpan, way. Each of
them lacked the apparent commitment to the task as displayed by the Accused.

29

The Accused participated in other activities with Monis which involved espousing extremist
political and religious views. These included communications, in 2008 and 2009, with the
families of deceased Australian soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the family of an
Austrade employee killed in the terrorist bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in July 2009.
Monis wrote letters to these families and the Accused made telephone contact with some of the
families. She attended (dressed in a black niqab) the funeral of one of the Australian soldiers.
Although Monis letters to the families opened with expressions of sympathy, they went on to
suggest that the dead soldier was a murderer of innocent civilians and children and, in some
cases, was to be likened to Hitler.

30

Further, on two occasions in June 2007, Monis and the Accused (dressed in a black niqab)
conducted protests outside the premises of Channel 7 in Martin Place, Sydney as a result of
some grievance Monis had arising from an interview concerning terrorism aired on the Sunrise
program.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

31

Monis and the Accused were charged with Commonwealth offences arising from their contact
with families of deceased Australian soldiers. On 10 November 2009, the Accused filmed Monis
outside the Downing Centre and she handed out leaflets in support of Monis and filmed members
of the media.

32

The evidence does not indicate that the Accused thereafter abandoned any of Monis religious or
political views, which she had promoted vigorously in these different ways in 2008 and 2009.

33

In the course of a telephone conversation with her cousin on 28 July 2013, on the eve of her and
Monis appearing in Court to answer the Commonwealth charges, the Accused is heard to say
(about the forthcoming hearing) We are proud and Were excited, were looking forward to it.

34

On 6 September 2013, after she and Monis had been sentenced for Commonwealth offences,
the Accused filmed Monis outside the Downing Centre. She was smiling as she filmed Monis
speaking to the media, defending the letters which had been sent to the families of deceased
soldiers.

35

It is important to explain the role of this evidence in the trial. The evidence of these activities
sheds considerable light upon the dynamics of the unusual relationship between Monis and the
Accused. There is no sign in the evidence that the Accused held political or religious views of
this type prior to her meeting Monis. It is apparent that the Accused was greatly influenced by
Monis political and religious views, which she was prepared to adopt and publicly espouse. Her
conduct involved her acting at the behest of Monis, in a number of different ways and over an
extended period of time. The Crown alleges that Monis wanted his former wife to be killed and
that the Accused was prepared to do this both to cement her very close relationship with him,
and to further their plan to form a single family unit with Monis, his sons, the Accused and her
daughter.

36

The willingness of the Accused to act in these ways, at the behest of Monis, sheds light upon the
motive and state of mind of the Accused as at 21 April 2013, and her preparedness or tendency
to conduct herself in extreme ways to please Monis.

37

There is a further example of the preparedness of the Accused to act at Monis behest, with this
incident occurring on 20 February 2014, some 10 months after the killing. By this time, both
Monis and the Accused had been charged with offences arising from the murder of Helen Lee
and each was on bail. A brief of evidence had been served on each of them which included an
interview with Soula Droudis, the Accuseds mother. Monis was upset about some of the things
that Soula Droudis had said about him in the interview. On 20 February 2014, Monis and the
Accused attended the home of Soula Droudis, who was very ill. Using her telephone, the
Accused filmed conversations between Monis and Soula Droudis (in both Greek and English), in
which Soula Droudis apologised to Monis for the things she had said about him. Soula Droudis
was visibly ill and clearly distressed by this process. The relevance of this for the purpose of the
trial is that, even in February 2014, the Accused was acting to the benefit of and, at the behest of
Monis, to the significant detriment of her own sick mother. The Crown relies upon this as a
further illustration of an attitude or tendency on the part of the Accused which had first
manifested itself in 2008 and continued to manifest itself even after the murder.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

38

Having outlined this evidence and its role in the trial, the Court must keep its use in perspective.
Any emotional reaction to the conduct of the Accused must be put to one side. The evidence is
to be viewed objectively in the trial for the purposes for which it was admitted and for those
purposes only.

39

On 18 June 2011, Helen Lee ended her relationship with Monis. There is evidence that Monis
approached mutual associates in late 2012 and early 2013 to ask Helen Lee if she was prepared
to reconcile with Monis. However, she made it entirely clear that the relationship between them
was at an end.

40

After July 2011, Monis made allegations (which were untrue) against Helen Lees father. An
incident occurred giving rise to an application by Helen Lee for an apprehended violence order.
An interim order was in place for a period.

41

After an informal access arrangement had been in place for a period, Monis commenced
proceedings in August 2011 in the Federal Magistrates Court seeking full custody of the children.
Affidavits were filed by each side of the proceedings. The affidavits prepared by Helen Lee and
her parents in 2011 and 2012 provided a history of the domestic relationship and conflict, during
which Helen Lee said that she had been dominated, controlled and duped by Monis. For his
part, Monis alleged falsely that there had been sexual abuse of one of the boys.

42

In October 2011 and February 2012, custody orders were made allowing Monis supervised (and
later unsupervised).access to the children.

43

In May 2012, a Court-ordered family consultants report recommended that Helen Lee have
parental responsibility, and thus custody, with Monis to have visitation rights.

44

On 5 July 2012, Monis sent an extraordinary and rambling letter of complaint to the Federal
Magistrate who had been presiding in the custody proceedings. Monis said that he wanted to
withdraw his case from the Federal Magistrates Court and to file in Gods court. Monis said that
If God decides that the children live with someone else [other than the mother] the children will
not live with their mother.

45

Soon after, a number of significant steps were taken which shed light on the relationship between
Monis and the Accused.

46

On 10 July 2012, the Accused appointed Monis as the enduring guardian of her daughter in the
event that she was unable to care for her daughter for any reason. On 20 July 2012, the
Accused made a will nominating Monis as her executor and the sole beneficiary of her estate.

47

Between 5 August 2012 and 7 April 2013, child access visits took place at regular intervals. A
regular and invariable feature of these visits was that the Accused and her 12-year old daughter
would attend with Monis and his two sons.

48

Final custody orders were made in the Federal Magistrates Court on 24 August 2012. These
orders granted full custody to Helen Lee, with Monis being given visitation access every second
Sunday between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. The orders stated that the designated location for the
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

exchange of custody was at Monis residence. By October 2012, Monis had nominated Unit 43,
14-20 Parkes Avenue, Werrington as the exchange point. I am satisfied that Monis was, in
reality, living with the Accused at a Croydon unit in and after October 2012. The Werrington
address was rarely used by Monis and was effectively for the purpose of access visits with the
children.
49

Monis had a habit of video recording every access visit with his sons. Accordingly, a visual
record exists of these events. From August 2012, Monis encouraged his sons to call the
Accused Mummy, apparently upon the basis that that was her name. On the 16 access visits
which took place between 5 August 2012 and 7 April 2013, the Accused and her daughter were
present every time. Monis sons constantly addressed the Accused as Mummy, and she spoke
to them endearingly and kissed them, and encouraged them to kiss her. On some occasions,
the boys were presented with gifts by the Accused and Monis. It is entirely clear that the
Accused and Monis were acting as a single family unit on these occasions, with Monis two sons
and the Accuseds daughter being encouraged to interact as if they were siblings.

50

A by-product of the Accuseds close relationship with Monis becoming further cemented by the
16 access visits between 5 August 2012 and 7 April 2013, was that there was a level of direct
and indirect contact and communication between the Accused and Helen Lee.

51

On 13 January 2013, in the course of an access visit, Monis, the Accused and the three children
travelled by vehicle to the premises of Helen Lee and her parents. Monis had become involved,
by that time, with the Rebels Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang (Rebels OMCG) about which more will
be said later. It is sufficient to record here that Monis arranged for two Rebels OMCG members
to attend on this occasion for the purpose of intimidating Helen Lee and her parents. Helen Lee
and her parents called police who attended.

52

On 27 January 2013, the Accused made two 000 calls to police on behalf of Monis to complain
about Helen Lees then boyfriend, Jayson Goundar. I am satisfied that the Accused was
becoming actively involved on Monis side in activities intended to generate friction with Helen
Lee.

53

Helen Lee was becoming upset about the Accused, as well as Monis. On the evening of 27
January 2013, she texted Monis seeking that he ask the Accused not to tell the kids what to do
and what not to do and requesting Monis to ask the Accused not to try and become their
mother.

54

On 10 March 2013, Monis and the Accused attended St Marys Police Station and lodged
complaints about Helen Lee and Mr Goundar. It is clear that Helen Lee regarded the complaint
as being untrue, as she sent a text message to Monis later that day saying, Enough of your and
Amirahs lies. If I get another phone call from the police I will take you back to court.

55

On 9 April 2013, Helen Lee sent a text to Monis complaining about gifts which had been given to
the boys by Monis and the Accused. Helen Lee said Can you or Amirah not buy toy guns for the
kids please.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

56

These text messages provide contemporaneous support for a conclusion that the Accused was
taking on a form of motherly role, ingratiating herself with Helen Lees sons, and that Helen Lee
was upset at the conduct of the Accused and Monis.

57

What can be gained from the evidence of access visits, and interaction between Monis and the
Accused (on the one hand) and Helen Lee (on the other), is that the Accused and Monis were
very close in the period up to 21 April 2013, and were acting jointly in a manner which, to their
knowledge, caused distress and upset to Helen Lee.

58

The evidence reveals that in a period up to 2011-2012, Monis had been maintaining
simultaneous relationships with Helen Lee, the Accused and Female M, to whom Monis had also
become engaged. However, Female M died of natural causes in May 2012. Monis had some
limited association with Female C and Female P in 2012. However, by August 2012 to April
2013, and beyond, the only woman with whom Monis maintained a sexual relationship was the
Accused.

59

In early 2012, Monis had commenced to associate with the Rebels OMCG. In September 2012,
he acquired a new Harley Davidson motor cycle, although he could only do so with the
assistance of Female P, who took out a $25,000.00 loan on his behalf.

60

The evidence indicates that Monis attempts to progress in the Rebels OMCG were not taken
particularly serious. He was viewed as an eccentric figure and was not treated with any respect.
It is the case, however, that in early 2013, Monis approached Rebels OMCG members on two
occasions saying that he wanted to have a woman done in, and that he would pay for this to be
done. Monis said he had a problem, with [his] ex and was going to do her in. Monis requests
were summarily rebuffed by Rebels OMCG members, with some apparent suspicion that Monis
may have even been working undercover with police. It was submitted for both the Crown and
the Accused, and I accept, that this was a serious attempt to have Helen Lee killed. It reflected
Monis state of mind at the time. This is important evidence which supports a conclusion that
Monis planned in early 2013 to have his former wife killed.

61

On 10 April 2013, Monis took out home contents insurance for the Werrington unit. This included
extra flood cover for his third-storey unit. I am satisfied that this step was taken because Monis
was planning to have Helen Lee murdered at Werrington, by means which would include the use
of fire.

62

On 10 April 2013, each of Monis and the Accused took out life insurance policies in the sum of
$500,000.00, with the other to be the nominated beneficiary.

63

The next access visit for Monis after 7 April 2013 was to take place on 21 April 2013. On 13 April
2013, Monis made special arrangements for two Iranian families whom he knew to attend the
Werrington unit for a picnic and outing on 21 April 2013. Monis did not tell his friends about his
relationship with the Accused or her existence. Indeed, he told them that he had no woman in
his life so that their wives should prepare the food.

64

At about 10.00 am on 21 April 2013, Helen Lee left her sons with Monis at the Werrington
apartment. Thereafter, Monis friends arrived and Monis, his sons and the other families went
eventually to the Penrith Swimming Pool for a picnic. Monis took extensive videos of the event,
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

including the filming of clocks, and himself, to demonstrate where he was and when. I am
satisfied that this was done by Monis as part of his plan to give himself an ironclad alibi for the
day, and in particular for the period 4.00 pm to 4.30 pm, when he knew that Helen Lee would be
going to Werrington. This was a faade created by Monis, as is demonstrated further by him
colliding intentionally with a parked car in High Street, Penrith near the Penrith Police Station.
Monis then insisted that police and an ambulance attend with him then being taken to Nepean
Hospital, although he had not suffered any genuine injury.
65

I am satisfied that Monis took these steps as he knew Helen Lee was to be killed that afternoon,
and he wished to provide a rock-solid alibi for himself.

66

The Crown has posed the question - If the Accused was not the killer and someone else was to
commit the crime for Monis, why did Monis not include the Accused in his alibi for that day?

67

Monis children were reunited with him on the evening of 22 April 2013. Monis, his sons, the
Accused and her daughter were living together, effectively as a family, in the Croydon unit.
Monis filmed these events so as to provide a contemporaneous record of apparently ordinary
family activities, just one day after Helen Lee had been killed.

68

Monis made an insurance claim after 21 April 2013 which was rejected, in due course, by the
insurance company as being a fraudulent claim. I am satisfied that the history of Monis
insurance claim, arising from the events on 21 April 2013, provides strong support for a
conclusion that Monis planned the murder, devising a false theft scenario in the process.

69

In the months after 21 April 2013, Monis suggested to police that the principal suspects for the
murder were Helen Lees father and her boyfriend, Mr Goundar. Monis acted in this way to
deflect police investigations in ways which he knew were false.

70

I am satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that Monis planned and put into effect the murder of his
former wife. This conclusion has been reached following an assessment of a variety of features
in the evidence which lead inexorably to this conclusion. As I have noted earlier, although both
the Crown and Senior Counsel for the Accused accepted that the Court would reach this
conclusion, it remained a matter for me, as the tribunal of fact, to so decide.

71

The principal factors which have led me to this conclusion are as follows:
(a)

Monis had broken up with Helen Lee and there was no prospect of reconciliation by April
2013;

(b)

Monis understood that the proceedings before the Federal Magistrates Court would not
result in him obtaining custody of his sons - faced with this reality, in July 2012, Monis
declared to the presiding Magistrate that his complaint had now been filed in Gods court
and that God is the decision maker, not you - in his own warped way, Monis saw himself
as being the instrument to carry out Gods wishes;

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

(c)

although Monis proceeded between August 2012 and 7 April 2013 by way of access visits
with the children, it was his clear intention to have custody of the two boys so that a single
family unit could be created between himself, the Accused, his sons and her daughter;

(d)

although many of Monis activities were bizarre, it was especially unusual that he sought to
associate with the Rebels OMCG - in early 2013, he solicited unsuccessfully members of
that group to kill his former wife - this was clear evidence of his intention to remove her from
the picture to clear the way for Monis to obtain custody of his sons;

(e)

eight days prior to 21 April 2013, Monis invited old friends to spend the day with him and his
sons on 21 April 2013 - this was a very curious and uncharacteristic invitation, with Monis
not revealing his then relationship with the Accused and with the plans for that day being
quite different to the pattern of access visits which had taken place, and had involved the
Accused and her daughter between August 2012 and 7 April 2013;

(f)

the activities of Monis on 21 April 2013 would seem farcical if they were not so serious Monis and his friends met at the Werrington unit and later visited the Penrith Swimming
Pool with Monis frequently videoing events and noting the correct time, both verbally and
visually - after leaving the Penrith Swimming Pool, Monis intentionally drove into another
vehicle in the vicinity of the Penrith Police Station so as to attract attention to himself,
including police and ambulance attention - these things were happening at the time of the
planned murder of his former wife - Monis was taken to Nepean Hospital although not
suffering from any real injury, where he remained until police visited that evening with Monis
feigning shock and distress when police told him of the murder;

(g)

on 10 April 2013, Monis had taken out contents insurance including water damage
insurance for his third-storey unit which was not at risk of water damage from any natural
event - I infer that Monis expected the murder of his former wife to take place with fire to be
used which would need to be extinguished by emergency services - he intended to claim
that items had been stolen from his unit so as to support a false scenario that his former
wife was killed in the course of a random crime committed in, or in the vicinity of, his unit;

(h)

after the murder, Monis in fact made an insurance claim which was readily and quickly
identified as a false claim, thereby supporting an inference that this was a type of cover
planned by him to distance himself from the murder as well as a means of making money;

(i)

the very next day, 22 April 2013, Monis, the Accused, Monis sons and the Accuseds
daughter were apparently living a calm, normal and unremarkable domestic existence in the
Croydon unit, giving all the signs of ordinary family life - Monis had achieved his plan to
have custody of his sons now that his former wife was dead, and with a new family unit
being established with the Accused and her daughter living under the same roof as Monis
and his sons;

(j)

after the murder, Monis went to considerable lengths to make false allegations against
Helen Lees father of sexual abuse of one of the boys and of the murder of Helen Lee, with
an allegation of murder also being levelled against Mr Goundar - these allegations were
intended to divert police attention from Monis and the Accused;

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

(k)

it is clear that the killer had been provided with keys to both the outer security door of the
Werrington apartment block and also the door to Unit 43. I readily infer that it was Monis
who provided these keys to the killer.

72

Each of the eye witnesses to the killing stated that the attacker was a woman. I have no difficulty
with finding, to the criminal standard, that the attacker was a woman. No submission was made
at trial that the attacker may have been a man dressed as a woman, and there was no support in
the evidence for such a scenario.

73

I now turn to the question whether the Crown has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the
Accused was the killer. Much of what I have said so far sets the scene for this question. The
relationship between Monis and the Accused, in all its forms, is important. By 21 April 2013, a
family relationship existed, involving them and their children.

74

The witness who was in the best position to describe the crime and the attacker was Wayne
Morris, who occupied an apartment on the top floor of the Werrington block, near Monis unit.

75

Mr Morris heard sounds and looked out the peephole in his door, observing a woman dressed in
black stabbing another woman. He saw the attacker produce a bottle, apparently for the purpose
of throwing fluid on the victim. Fearing what may happen next, Mr Morris emerged from his unit
and attempted to dissuade the attacker from starting a fire. The enraged female attacker
screamed back Go back in there, telling him to return to his unit. He said that the woman was
very angry and in a rage. The woman threw liquid on the victim. Mr Morris said the attacker was
chubby or plump, these terms describing accurately the size of the Accused at that time. Mr
Morris said she wore Middle Eastern clothing which he described as a burqa, although it was
accepted at the trial that what he described was a hijab - a covering on the head with the full face
showing.

76

During a photo identification procedure, Mr Morris did not pick the photograph of the Accused.
However, the photograph he did select was of a person very similar to the Accused. Making all
due allowance for the terrifying circumstances in which he saw the attacker, I am satisfied that Mr
Morris evidence is of very considerable assistance to the Crown case.

77

Other occupants of the building (Peta Drzewiecki and Jonathon Truupold) did not see the attack,
but did see the attacker, supporting the description of the attacker as being a woman wearing a
burqa on her head (meaning, again, head dress like a hijab where the face only was visible).

78

I accept the evidence of Mathew Hill concerning his observation of a woman leaving the stairway
door and heading for the Parkes Avenue exit from the building.

79

I accept that each of the Werrington apartment block witnesses was an honest witness making
every effort to give an accurate account of what each of them saw in very trying circumstances.
The following features should be noted at this point:
(a)

each witness identified the attacker as a woman;

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

(b)

the dress of the attacker was distinctive with those persons who saw the attacker in the
stairwell describing a Middle Eastern head dress, to be understood as a hijab where the
whole face was shown, but not the rest of the head;

(c)

Mr Hills description of the clothing differs from that of Mr Morris, Ms Drzewiecki and Mr
Truupold - however, Mr Hill was making his observations from a greater distance - I am
satisfied that the person observed by Mr Hill was the attacker given the temporal proximity
between events which had occurred in the stairwell, and the departure of the woman from
the security door at the foot of the stairwell;

(d)

by the time the attacker came to be seen by Mr Hill, she had removed her scarf or head
dress so that Mr Hill could see her hair;

(e)

I am satisfied that the attacker fled the premises via the exit that leads to Parkes Avenue
and not the Albert Street exit.

80

Submissions were made for the Accused that the evidence of Nigel Quiney, assisted by that of a
defence witness, Peter Woods, pointed to the attacker being someone other than the Accused,
who departed the Werrington premises via the Albert Street side. There are a number of
difficulties with the evidence of Mr Quiney. However, the fundamental problem is that any person
Mr Quiney observed leaving the building, did so between 3.50 pm and 4.00 pm, but the attack
did not take place until after 4.25 pm. This can be pinpointed by the 000 call made by Mr
Morris which occurred at 4.27.54 pm. Mr Quiney had been walking past the building to join his
friends in the next door block of apartments. As the evidence of Mr Quiney and Mr Woods made
clear, their intention was to watch the City v Country Rugby League match on Channel 9. The
evidence established that the televised kick-off of that match occurred at 4.05 pm, by which time
Mr Quiney and Mr Woods were seated watching the match. There are other criticisms which
may be made of Mr Quineys evidence. Whatever else may be said about Mr Quineys evidence,
I am satisfied that any woman he saw leaving the Werrington apartment block was entirely
unrelated to the attack upon Helen Lee.

81

The Accused made submissions by reference to fingerprint and DNA evidence. It was submitted
that the absence of fingerprints of the Accused on the handrail in the stair case assisted the
defence case. I accept the Crown submission that this evidence does not assist either the
Crown or the Accused.

82

The Accused also submitted that the absence of the Accuseds DNA from a partly burnt match
stick, found at the scene, pointed to the attacker being someone other than the Accused. There
is some evidence from Mr Morris that the attacker did not seem to be wearing gloves. I have
proceeded upon this basis, as did the parties in closing submissions.

83

The expert evidence of Ms Sandra Trabuio indicated that the DNA of Helen Lee was on the
match stick (as the major contributor) together with at least three other minor contributors. The
evidence of Dr Mark Perlin, an expert relied upon by the defence, was that the Accused was
excluded as being one of the minor contributors. There was no dispute between the evidence of
the expert witnesses. The question to be considered is what conclusion should be reached by
reference to this evidence.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

84

In my view, the reliance upon this evidence by the Accused involves a process of speculation
and not the drawing of inferences. As Ms Trabuios evidence demonstrates, the match stick
could have picked up the DNA of Helen Lee in a number of ways.

85

The evidence does not suggest that it was inevitable that the Accuseds DNA would have been
detected on the match stick shaft, if she had held it. This is a most important aspect when an
argument is put that the absence of the Accuseds DNA indicates that she never touched the
item.

86

I am satisfied that the Court should not proceed upon the basis that the attackers DNA would
inevitably have been deposited on the match stick. This is not a conclusion arising from the
evidence, nor was the proposition put to Ms Trabuio in cross-examination on behalf of the
Accused.

87

The fact that there were at least three minor contributors to the DNA reinforces the capacity of
DNA to be transferred in a number of ways to a surface such as this match stick.

88

It will be necessary, in due course, to take into account this defence submission cumulatively
with others in considering whether the Crown has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The
Accused may rely upon this evidence as part of an overall submission which may be based on
several pieces of evidence.

89

However, in my view, the DNA evidence relating to the match stick does not assist the
prosecution or defence case. It is clearly the case that, in some way, the DNA of Helen Lee
came to be on the match stick as the major DNA component. Beyond that, I consider that a
process of speculation is involved to treat this evidence as being, in some way, exculpatory of
the Accused.

90

The evidence disclosed that the Accused was at Croydon in the late morning and early afternoon
on 21 April 2013, and was at Croydon again after 7.00 pm that evening. The critical issue is
where the Accused was at 4.25 pm that day when Helen Lee was being fatally attacked at
Werrington.

91

Alibi witnesses were called in the defence case. These were the Accuseds daughter and a
friend of the Accuseds parents, Kyriacou (Kiki) Fakih. The Accuseds alibi notice asserted that
she was at her parents address at Belmore at the time of the murder.

92

The Accuseds daughter was 15 years old at the time she gave evidence about events which
occurred three years earlier. When first approached by police in November 2013 to indicate
what had happened in April 2013, the Accuseds daughter gave an account that differed from
that given in the witness box. I accept the Crown submission that her evidence is not reliable.
Her description of unremarkable events could not be attached reliably to the critical day, 21 April
2013. In any event, her evidence did not place the Accused at the Belmore premises at the time
of the murder. Her evidence did not support the Accuseds alibi.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

93

Ms Fakih was not an impressive witness. Her evidence was quite unconvincing both in
presentation and content. She was an unreliable historian concerning events and could not be
accepted as a reliable witness concerning the events of 21 April 2013.

94

Ms Fakih was not a disinterested witness who was doing her best to give a truthful and reliable
account. She was motivated to give an account which increased the prospect that the Accused
may be reunited with her daughter.

95

The Accuseds brother, John Aspros, was called as a witness in the Crown case. There is
reason for caution being exercised concerning the evidence of Mr Aspros having regard to his
health problems and difficulties which he demonstrated in his memory of events. The most
reliable evidence was that of police who spoke to Mr Aspros on the evening of 21 April 2013. Mr
Aspros told police that he had not seen the Accused since they went to the markets which he
said was on Friday, 19 April but was, in fact, Saturday, 20 April 2013. The significance of the
evidence concerning what Mr Aspros told police is that, when spoken to by police on the evening
of 21 April 2013, he did not say that the Accused had been at the Belmore premises on that day.
This evidence provides a further difficulty for the Accused, in addition to the alibi witnesses called
in the defence case.

96

Nothing said by Soula Droudis to police provided support for the Accuseds alibi. Soula Droudis
died in December 2015 so that what she said to police in April and November 2013 could not, in
any event, be tested by cross-examination.

97

I have mentioned the activities of Monis in the months after the murder, which supported a
conclusion that Monis well knew who had killed Helen Lee, but that Monis made false allegations
to police in an effort to deflect police investigations. The Accused joined with Monis in making
these allegations, and expressing ongoing fear of Helen Lees father.

98

The Crown relied upon recorded conversations of the Accused, Monis and others in July and
October 2013 as evidence of consciousness of guilt on the part of the Accused. I accept that the
Accused and Monis believed that their telephone and other conversations were likely being
recorded by police, so that what was said by the Accused should be viewed in that light.

99

Monis and the Accused had a conversation on 31 October 2013 concerning possible
explanations in the event that her DNA might be found at the crime scene. Having considered
this evidence, I am satisfied that the conversation may be relied upon as evidence of
consciousness of the Accuseds guilt of the crime of murder.

100 Other conversations involving the Accused on 29 July 2013 and 31 October 2013 were relied
upon as evidence of consciousness of guilt by way of discussion concerning a possible alibi for
the Accused, in the context of Monis himself already having a watertight alibi. I accept that these
conversations took place with the Accused believing they were being recorded by police. I am
satisfied that these conversations should also be relied upon as evidence of the Accuseds
consciousness of her own guilt of the crime of murder.
101 I have mentioned earlier the evidence of acts of the Accused in 2008-2009 which was admitted
as tendency evidence.
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

102 In approaching the use of the tendency evidence by me as the tribunal of fact, I have kept clearly
in mind the need for a calm and measured assessment of the actions of the Accused. As her
counsel acknowledged, the actions which she took in 2008 and 2009, in the 11 extremist videos
and her persistent contact with relatives of deceased Australian servicemen, were reprehensible.
103 The importance of this evidence, however, is not the dramatic impact of what the Accused did,
and any condemnation of her conduct. Rather, it is the light which is shed by conduct of this type
upon her interaction with Monis in the highly unusual relationship, and her preparedness to act,
in a variety of extraordinary ways, at his request.
104 I am well satisfied that the tendency asserted by the Crown is demonstrated by these acts of the
Accused over an extended period of time. They are not confined to activities in 2008-2009.
They included, of course, the willingness of the Accused even in February 2014 to record Monis
extraction of a grovelling apology from the Accuseds own mother (then very ill). By that time,
each of Monis and the Accused had been charged with offences arising from the murder of
Helen Lee. This provides some insight into the dynamics of the relationship between the
Accused and Monis which had commenced in 2007 and continued, with heightened intensity, in
2012 and 2013.
105 I am satisfied that the tendency evidence bears, as well, upon the state of mind and motive of the
Accused. There is no doubt that Monis wished his former wife dead as at 21 April 2013. The
evidence indicates that the Accused was at the closest and most intense level of her relationship
with Monis at that time. The Accused and Monis were forging a family unit including their
respective children.
106 It is necessary to approach the tendency evidence, and its connection with the killing, with an
understanding of the entire picture of the relationship between Monis and the Accused provided
by the evidence.
107 It is true that the conduct relied upon by the Crown for tendency purposes involved different
conduct to that involved in the killing.
108 However, the extreme religious views of Monis are not absent from the circumstances of the
killing. There are aspects of the killing which have a religious flavour, at least in the distorted
way in which Monis viewed things. Monis had formed the view that the custody of his sons
would be resolved in Gods court. He had asserted to the Federal Magistrate and Helen Lee
that an act or decision of God would determine the custody issue. It seems clear from his
writings (some repeated by the Accused) that Monis regarded himself as an instrument of God,
or a person who could give effect to Gods will.
109 The killing involved a frenzied knife attack with multiple stab wounds being inflicted to the body of
the victim, followed by the gratuitous use of fire. There is room to question whether Monis view
of fire, illustrated in his correspondence about the Victorian bushfires, may be connected with the
murder itself. However, the nature of the attack, involving two entirely different forms of attack,
has a ritualistic flavour to it.
110 To be added to this is the evidence of the eye witnesses that the female attacker was wearing
Middle Eastern head dress, in the form of a hijab. The evidence of Mr Morris, which I accept,
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

reveals an enraged female killer. This was no cold-blooded murder. These aspects provide
support for the murder having ritualistic features related to religious beliefs.
111 I have approached the evidence of the Accuseds activities in 2008 and 2009 with caution,
guarding against excessive weight being given to it. In the result, the tendency evidence has
played some part in my deliberations on the way to reaching a verdict in the trial.
112 It is not for the Accused to establish that someone else committed the murder. However, as is
common in circumstantial evidence trials, arguments were advanced as to hypotheses which
were said to be consistent with the innocence of the Accused.
113 It was submitted for the Accused that the police investigation had not excluded, as a reasonable
possibility, a killing carried out by someone associated with the Rebels OMCG.
114 I accept the unchallenged evidence that Monis solicited members of the Rebels OMCG in early
2013 to kill Helen Lee. The evidence is that these requests were not taken seriously and were
rejected summarily. Nor do I consider that the Accused is assisted by Monis November 2013
attempts to have Helen Lees father murdered, with his proposals once again being rejected. The
evidence of these November 2013 events does not support an argument that Monis had
successfully recruited a bikie or bikies to kill Helen Lee in April 2013.
115 One of the fundamental difficulties with this hypothesis, in my view, is the lack of means of Monis
to pay for a professional killing. The evidence in the trial provided a thorough picture of Monis
financial position over a number of years up to and including April 2013. Monis was in receipt of
welfare or student payments for a significant period in the years leading up to 2013. His earlier
activities as a spiritual healer and clairvoyant had ceased, certainly by 2010, if not before. The
evidence indicates that Monis would obtain (or seek to obtain) financial assistance by way of
loans from friends from time to time. There is no evidence that he had a capacity to pay for a
person to carry out a murder, an act for which a substantial sum would be expected by way of
payment, and usually in advance.
116 There is evidence which indicates that Monis Harley Davidson motor cycle ended up being used
in and after September 2013 by members of the Rebels OMCG, ultimately in Western Australia.
However, the evidence also indicates that Monis had possession of the motor cycle on 16 June
2013 when he was seen riding it at a Rebels OMCG event at the Cronulla fish markets. It would
be very odd for the killer to leave the motor cycle with Monis some two months after the murder,
if the motor cycle was somehow used to pay for a hired killing or as security for such a payment.
117 Further, Monis was taking steps to recover the motor cycle after it had left his possession. He
even attempted to persuade Detective Senior Constable Staples to wire up the Accused so that
she could speak to Rebels OMCG members, with a view to Monis recovering the Harley
Davidson. Unsurprisingly, Detective Senior Constable Staples would not proceed with Monis
curious plan.
118 These actions do not appear to be consistent with a person who had used the motor cycle as a
form of payment or security for a contract murder.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

119 There is evidence as well that members of the Rebels OMCG did not hold Monis in high regard,
considering him to be an eccentric character who may even have been a type of police
undercover operative. Monis was not respected by members of the Rebels OMCG, so it may
have been that there was no inhibition, on the part of club members, to simply deprive Monis of
his motor cycle by September 2013.
120 On top of these grave reservations about this hypothesis, there are further compelling features. I
accept the Crown submission that it is difficult to believe that any contract murder, undertaken on
behalf of a bikie group, would be executed by a woman.
121 Further, it is farfetched to think that a paid killing would be carried out by means of a stabbing (18
times) followed by the setting alight of the body in an enclosed area. Such an approach would
endanger the attacker as well as magnifying the prospect of immediate discovery of the crime.
122 Further, it is difficult to conceive of a bikie crime carried out by a woman wearing a hijab. This
was a hot-blooded and frenzied murder by an enraged female attacker.
123 In my view, this hypothesis is based on speculation and not any inference reasonably arising
from the evidence. The contract murder scenario can be put to one side.
124 Senior Counsel for the Accused did not submit that a particular woman or women, who had been
known to have associated with Monis, was a suspect for this crime. None of the female
associates of Monis, whom had been identified in the evidence, was required to attend to give
oral evidence. In these circumstances, no challenge was made to the various explanations
involving alibis and other factors, which led to each of these women being excluded as a suspect
for the murder.
125 Rather, it was submitted that Monis was a secretive person who appeared to have a range of
associations with females at different times, frequently simultaneously, so that the prospect of an
unknown woman being used by him to murder his former wife was a reasonable hypothesis
arising from the evidence. It was submitted that the Sheikh Haron videos demonstrated that
Monis had inveigled a number of women to make videos and it was not known if police were able
to locate all such videos.
126 It was submitted that there is a very real possibility that there are women whose identity is not
known who partook in such videos. Accordingly, it was submitted that this constituted a
reasonable hypothesis as to how a female attacker may have come to have murdered the
deceased.
127 The Crown submitted that the evidence revealed a thorough police investigation whereby all
women who had been associated with Monis in the years up to 2013 had been eliminated, by
one means or another. The Crown submitted the defence hypothesis was speculative and
fanciful.
128 I am satisfied that the police identified all women with whom Monis had any type of sustained
relationship. Female M died in May 2012. Females B, C, P and S were spoken to by police.
Each had an alibi or was markedly different in appearance to the attacker. None of these women
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

were called for cross-examination and I am satisfied that each of them has been excluded as a
suspect for the murder.
129 The evidence demonstrates, to my satisfaction, that the only women with any association with
Monis in early 2013 were the Accused, Helen Lee and the women referred to so far. There is no
other woman emerging from documentary or electronic evidence. Further, the Accused had an
intense relationship with Monis in and after late 2012. She was constantly on the radar in the
evidence in the trial. No other female was.
130 I accept the Crown submission that Monis personality was marked by a grandiose sense of self
importance and other features. If any woman (apart from the Accused) existed who strongly
admired Monis as at April 2013, there would have been documentary or electronic evidence of
her existence, which the police would have recovered. There was no such evidence. The female
who carried out this murder must have been someone so committed to Monis as to be prepared
to commit murder on his behalf, and to do so utilising the means dictated by Monis, included the
use of fire.
131 I accept that the thorough investigation undertaken by the police did not detect any evidence of
any other woman in association with Monis as at 21 April 2013 who may have been recruited by
him to act as the attacker. A suggestion that this scenario may have arisen is based upon
speculation and guesswork, and not on any reasonable hypothesis drawn from inferences
grounded in the evidence.
132 I am entirely satisfied that no other woman is identified in the evidence as being a possible killer
of Helen Lee. This scenario may be put to one side.
133 I bear in mind that the onus is upon the Crown to prove beyond reasonable doubt the elements
of the offence. It is not necessary for the Crown to prove every fact to the criminal standard, nor
is it necessary for the Court, before returning a verdict of guilty, to answer every question or
solve every puzzle which may emerge, in one way or another, from the evidence in the trial.
134 I have considered all evidence adduced in the trial and have had regard to the submissions
made for the Crown and on behalf of the Accused. So far in this summary, I have indicated my
conclusions and findings with respect to a number of principal issues. To the extent that I have
rejected individual arguments advanced for the Accused on particular issues, I have nevertheless
approached the question of verdict upon the basis that it is open to the Accused to contend that a
foundation for an acquittal may emerge as a result of the cumulative effect of a number of the
features of evidence in the trial. This is consistent with the principle that the Court should not
consider the items of evidaence in a circumstantial case in a piecemeal fashion.
135 Findings to the criminal standard that Monis planned and put into effect the murder, and that the
attacker was a female, have a practical effect in narrowing scenarios which may otherwise have
been open, as to the identity of the killer.
136 Neither the arguments of the parties, nor the evidence in the trial leaves open as a reasonable
possibility a scenario where Helen Lee was murdered in a random attack or by a stranger. This
has the practical effect of narrowing very substantially the range of available persons as the
killer.
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

137 I am satisfied that the killer was a person well known to and trusted by Monis. Although Monis
had a history of affairs and relationships with different women, the evidence does not permit, as a
reasonable possibility, the attacker being a woman somehow associated with Monis, but who
remained and remains unknown. Thorough investigations were undertaken by police with a
number of women being identified, and with all of them being excluded in the course of the
investigation.
138 As the tribunal of fact, I record my finding that each of these women was appropriately excluded
as a suspect.
139 With respect to the hypothesis advanced that the killer was a person associated with the Rebels
OMCG, a fundamental stumbling block, as I have said, is the description of the killer and the
means of murdering the victim. Those aspects are totally inconsistent with a killing undertaken
for payment or promise of payment.
140 I do not accept the argument advanced for the Accused that events which surrounded the
possession and use of Monis Harley Davidson motor cycle may be linked, in some way, to the
payment or security for payment for a hired killing. The evidence does not indicate that Monis
voluntarily parted with the motor cycle entirely and, indeed, he took steps unsuccessfully to
recover it after the murder. Monis was not acting in a manner consistent with a person who had
used the Harley Davidson as payment, or security for payment, for a hired killing.
141 I have considered submissions advanced for the Accused with respect to Monis efforts, in
November 2013, to recruit a person to kill Helen Lees father. Like Monis efforts to solicit a
murder earlier in the year from the Rebels OMCG, these later attempts on his part were likewise
summarily rejected. I do not consider that the steps taken by Monis in November 2013 shed any
light upon what had actually occurred in events leading up to the murder of Helen Lee in April
2013.
142 The murderer was an agitated and angry female wearing a hijab. Although as was submitted for
the Accused, the selection of a knife as a murder weapon, may have had an advantage over a
firearm, the killing in this case was carried out in a frenzied fashion with 18 knife wounds being
inflicted to the victim. Thereafter, and gratuitously, the murderer set alight to the victim in a
closed area, in a manner which would have the opposite effect to that argued for the Accused
with respect to the selection of the means of killing.
143 This crime had all the hallmarks of a frenzied attack by an angry amateur killer, acting in a
manner consistent with Monis desire as to the means of inflicting death. Although I readily
accept that Monis had a financial motive in making a fraudulent claim on the insurance policy
which he had taken out just 11 days prior to the killing, I do not consider that this aspect operates
as any more than an incidental factor. Nor do I accept that Monis plan to claim on the insurance
policy was to be explained as a means of getting money to pay a hired killer.
144 I am satisfied that the Accused had the motive, means and opportunity to carry out the murder on
21 April 2013.
145 The motive involved several elements, including a desire by Monis and the Accused to form a
single family unit with his sons and the Accuseds own daughter. Monis had been going to
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

considerable lengths between August 2012 and April 2013, in child access visits and other
aspects of his life, to give the Accused the clear impression of a plan to have a single family unit,
with her as the mother figure for all three children.
146 A telling piece of evidence involved the video footage of Monis, the Accused, Monis sons and
the Accuseds daughter in the Croydon unit on the evening of 22 April 2013. The images
depicted suggest a family unit engaged in routine activities, with the Accused acting in a motherly
way towards all three children. That Monis and the Accused were acting in this way, a little more
than 24 hours after the murder of the boys mother, fortifies a conclusion that the intention to
create a family unit by disposing of the boys mother had been realised, and was being acted
upon without delay.
147 In circumstances where Monis had abandoned his attempt to have a civil court grant him custody
of the children, and he had asserted that the matter would be resolved in Gods court, the only
realistic means where custody of the boys could be obtained was by way of the permanent
removal of Helen Lee from the scene. I am satisfied that the Accused was motivated to achieve
this result as at 21 April 2013, as was Monis.
148 There is a further feature of the Accuseds motive which emerges from her complex and unusual
relationship and history with Monis. I conclude readily that it was her meeting with, and
subsequent relationship with Monis, which led the Accused to adopt religious and political beliefs
with an extreme content as demonstrated by her statements and conduct in 2008 and 2009. In
acting in this way, the Accused appears to have adopted uncritically Monis view of the world with
its extreme and perverse features. The Accused was enthralled by Monis and this remained the
position up to 21 April 2013 and beyond.
149 There is nothing in the evidence to suggest that, prior to meeting Monis, the Accused had acted
in such a fashion or was minded to act in such a fashion. When this aspect is added to the
firstmentioned motive relating to the desire to create a family unit, I am satisfied that a powerful
compound existed. I am satisfied that Monis took advantage of the Accuseds willingness to act
at his behest, and in a manner which she perceived to operate to the unique advantage of Monis
and herself.
150 The means for the commission of this crime were readily available in the form of a knife, a liquid
fuel or propellant and a box of matches. These were commonplace items which were readily
available to the Accused. The evidence reveals that a box of matches of the type used was in
the possession of Monis and the Accused, and was used, in a barbeque setting on an access
visit in the weeks prior to the killing. The Accused possessed the relatively new keys to the
Werrington security door and to Monis unit. I am satisfied that Monis supplied these keys to her
shortly prior to the killing.
151 The opportunity for the Accused to commit the crime is established in a number of ways. Firstly,
she did not accompany Monis on the child access visit on 21 April 2013 when he, for the first
time, invited friends and their families to accompany himself and his sons. Not only was the
Accused not invited on this day, but Monis lied to his friends as to her existence.
152 I do not accept the evidence of the alibi witnesses called in the defence case as being reliable
and (in the case of Ms Fakih) truthful witnesses.
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

153 What is left is evidence that the Accused was at her Croydon unit block in the late morning of 21
April 2013 and in the vicinity of Croydon Railway Station shortly before 2.00 pm that day. There
is no further sign of the Accused in person, or by telephone use, until after 7.00 pm when she
attempts to call Monis.
154 There was ample opportunity for the Accused to travel from Croydon to Werrington and back to
Croydon by early evening. The evidence does not permit a finding to be made as to the precise
means of transport used. However, this is an example of an area of the evidence where the
Crown is not required to prove each and every step taken, or resolve every query raised on
behalf of the Accused. What is important is that there was a clear opportunity for the Accused to
travel from Croydon to Werrington and back to Croydon, so that she was in a position to commit
the crime at Werrington at 4.25 pm on 21 April 2013.
155 The evidence of the eye witnesses at the Werrington apartment block is important. Of primary
significance is the account of Mr Morris as to what he heard and saw. It is clear from his
evidence that this was a frenzied attack by a highly agitated female who would not be deterred
by anything Mr Morris said. His evidence of the attackers manner of dress is significant and
reliable. Mr Morris had a limited opportunity to observe the facial features of the attacker during
an extremely stressful and terrifying event. The fact that he did not select the photograph of the
Accused provides no real assistance to the defence in the trial. The photograph which he did
select was, in my view, close to the appearance of the Accused. This is not a case where the
photograph selected by Mr Morris bore no resemblance to the Accused. Indeed, in my view,
there is a close similarity between the photograph selected and the Accused.
156 Of particular importance as well was Mr Morris description of the woman as being plump or
chubby. This was a reasonable description of the size of the Accused at that time as depicted
in photographs.
157 In my view, Mr Morris had a better opportunity to see the attacker than did other witnesses,
including Ms Drzewiecki.
158 I have already expressed, in summary, my conclusions for a finding that the killer left the
premises via the Parkes Avenue exit, and not the Albert Street exit.
159 The Crown is assisted further by the acts and omissions of the Accused on the evening of 21
April 2013. Even though she made her way to Kingswood Railway Station and was close to the
Nepean Hospital, the Accused did not attend the hospital to see Monis. Monis remained at the
hospital for about an hour after he spoke to the Accused at 9.22 pm. Given the closeness of
their relationship and the fact that, on the face of it, he had been admitted to hospital following a
motor vehicle accident, it is very difficult to understand this approach on the part of the Accused if
she was not involved in the murder. I am satisfied that Monis was effectively hiding the Accused
from the police when he refused to tell them whom he had been speaking to on the phone.
160 In the weeks and months that followed, Monis and the Accused communicated with the police in
ways that sought to suggest that Helen Lees father or Mr Goundar were the suspects for the
murder. Monis was well aware that these were false allegations because he knew who had
carried out the murder. I accept that the Accused falsely corroborated some of Monis
allegations.
This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

161 Throughout this period, the Accused and Monis continued to live a close relationship. The
defence case appears to be that Monis was deceiving the Accused throughout this period by
hiding from her the fact that he was behind the murder. In considering that scenario, I have
taken into account the entirety of the evidence and what it reveals about the longstanding,
elaborate and unusual relationship between Monis and the Accused. Although I accept that the
Accused was prepared, on a number of occasions, to act at the direction of Monis in an
apparently uncritical way, I do not accept that the Accused was nave. Her willingness to actively
participate in and promote the suggestion that Helen Lees father (in particular) was a suspect
whom she feared because of his experience as a locksmith, sheds light upon her knowledge of,
and involvement in, the murder with Monis.
162 It is the case that there is no forensic evidence tying the Accused to the commission of this
crime. There is no fingerprint or DNA evidence. I am satisfied that this evidence, when properly
analysed, does not assist the Crown or the Accused.
163 I have given careful consideration to the arguments advanced by reference to the recorded
conversations which are said by the Crown to demonstrate consciousness of guilt. It is important
to keep in mind the fact that, as the Accuseds own words demonstrate, she believed that the
conversations she was having on the telephone or with Monis were being recorded by police. I
am satisfied that there was a strong element of faade in these conversations. The statements
made by the Accused do not assist her in this trial. They demonstrate the development of
manufactured accounts, and not spontaneous conversations between her (as an innocent
person) and Monis (the planner of the murder).
164 In summary, I am satisfied that Monis planned and put into effect the murder of Helen Lee. The
killer was a female. The murder was carried out, in a hot-blooded fashion, by a female with a
strong emotional investment in killing Helen Lee. The killer was a trusted associate of Monis
who was prepared to carry out the murder, in a manner desired by Monis, using a combination of
stabbing and fire. As at 21 April 2013, the Accused was Monis closest female associate, who
had demonstrated a willingness to act as he wished consistently in the past.
165 A frenzied attack was involved which was entirely inconsistent with the work of a hired killer.
The killer bore a close facial similarity to the Accused and the body shape of the killer, as
described by the principal eye witness, was consistent with that of the Accused. The killer was
dressed in an unusual manner, involving a head cover available to the Accused. All of these
factors lead inexorably to the conclusion that the Accused was the murderer.
166 I return to the principles to be applied in determining whether guilt has been proved in an entirely
circumstantial case. Having considered the entirety of the evidence, and all submissions made
by the parties, I am satisfied that the only rational inference arising from the evidence is that it
was the Accused who carried out the murder. Arguments to the contrary advanced on behalf of
the Accused involve mere conjecture or speculation, which raise, at best, bare possibilities of
innocence. I keep in mind that the onus of proof remains with the Crown from first to last during
the trial. I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the Crown has proved the guilt of the
Accused.
167 Would the Accused please stand.

This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.

168 I find the Accused guilty of murder as alleged in the indictment.


169 The Accused is convicted of murder.
170 I publish my reasons.
171 The Court will now move to fix a date for a sentencing hearing.
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This summary has been prepared for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the
judgment of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Courts judgment.