Mother wins appeal over lawyer's execution

·3-min read

A mother jailed for helping her husband and a gunman after they murdered a lawyer in a brazen daylight execution at a Sydney cafe has been reunited with her six children.

Analosa Ah Keni was jailed in the NSW Supreme Court in December for two years and seven months, with a non-parole period of one year and six months.

She was due to be released on parole on December 16.

But her release date was brought forward to September 16 after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal cut her minimum term by three months and her total term by six months.

In the court's reasons published on Wednesday, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst said the sentencing judge erred in taking into account Ah Keni's failure to provide assistance to the police at an early stage.

Criminal lawyer Ho Ledinh was shot dead as he sat with two friends outside the Happy Cup Cafe at Bankstown City Plaza on January 23, 2018.

Ah Keni's husband Abraham Sinai was found guilty in June of murdering the 65-year-old.

While Arthur Keleklio used a .45 calibre handgun to shoot Mr Ledinh three times, Sinai was found guilty of murder on the basis he communicated with the gunman, gave him items before the killing and arranged for him to be driven away afterwards.

Ah Keni pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder, admitting she did "receive, harbour, maintain and assist" the two men after the shooting, knowing they had committed the crime.

In allowing the appeal, Justice Bathurst said the admitted offence "involves taking active steps to assist, and a mere failure to report the offence does not fit within that description".

"Such failure in my opinion does not hinder an investigation and render the person liable as an accessory."

The sentencing judge concluded she had good prospects of rehabilitation and is unlikely to reoffend, particularly noting her attachment to her children.

Ah Keni, born in Samoa in 1982, found out she was pregnant with the couple's fifth child after her arrest in 2018 when she was in custody.

She gave birth soon after her release on bail and became pregnant with the sixth child in the period from then until her husband was arrested nine months later.

"It is said that the motive for the murder arose from a dispute over a debt relating to drug supply and money laundering activities," the judge said.

The killing had been "an execution" involving the brazen and violent shooting of a person in broad daylight in a busy public place.

The Crown alleged that Sinai, his wife and his sister drove around before the gunman got in the car after the shooting and was driven away.

But the judge was not satisfied that Ah Keni must have been aware of who and what was involved as early as when she drove off.

She admitted carrying out a multiplicity of acts designed to conceal the roles played by her husband and the shooter and acts designed to help her husband leave the jurisdiction to evade justice.

They included buying plane tickets to New Zealand, travelling there to arrange for the family to move there, and agreeing that Keleklio's legal fees would be paid and his family looked after.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting