Panic behind fatal drug house shooting

·2-min read

It was in a state of panic that Albert Biba fired the shot that killed a Melbourne man, who had just broken into the drug house Biba was guarding.

He wasn't even trying to hit Andrew Toumayan, Biba's barrister Robert Richter told Victoria's Supreme Court on Friday.

Biba had gone to the Ringwood property in the early hours of April 17, 2018 after Mr Toumayan and his friend Francesco Vigneto triggered a silent alarm.

They'd gone to try and steal drugs being cultivated inside, but left after realising what they planned to take wasn't ready yet.

As Mr Toumayan opened the front gate to leave, Mr Vigneto heard a single gunshot and his friend let out a scream.

The two men fled down the street. Mr VIgneto picked up Mr Toumayan the first time he collapsed, but the second time stopped when his friend asked him to "hold me".

He did, and when he found Mr Toumayan had no pulse he tried CPR before running for help. Mr Toumayan, 28, couldn't be saved.

Biba, 33, pleaded guilty to manslaughter last month after prosecutors withdrew a murder charge.

He admitted having gone to the property armed with a loaded weapon and having fired it.

Justice Christopher Beale suggested Biba had deliberately fire the gun, but Mr Richter tempered that claim.

"Deliberate in the sense that when you're in an absolute panic and you pull the trigger it is deliberate," he said.

He argued Biba had not intended to kill Mr Toumayan and had not intended to hit him at all when he fired the gun.

"It could have been a panicked pulling of the trigger to frighten (him)," he said.

Mr Richter is arguing for Biba to receive a sentence on the lower end of the scale for manslaughter, saying at most it's a mid-range example for the crime.

But Justice Beale said Biba seemed on multiple occasions to be the person or one of the people responding to alarms at the crop house.

"On this particular occasion he arms himself with a loaded firearm and goes to investigate ... there's a certain amount of deliberateness," he said.

"The possibility of the escalation of the situation, with shots being fired, must have occurred to him."

Biba, who had been in Australia on a bridging visa, expects to be deported.

He'll be sentenced next month.