Press Reader- Daily Telegraph
Innocent bystanders who saw the alleged murder of one of Australia’s most powerful bikies fear they will be targeted for telling police what they saw.
Innocent bystanders to the alleged murder of one of Australia’s most powerful bikies — who was stabbed to death in a brawl at a Canberra nightclub last month — have told investigators they fear they will be targeted for retribution because they have spoken to police.
Pitasoni Ulavalu, 48, the Canberra chapter president of the Comanchero MC, died on the footpath on Bunda St, outside a packed Kokomo’s nightclub last month.
According to a police document, there were 97 witnesses to the brawl, of whom more than 35 were, as of late last week, yet to provide information about what they saw.
Witnesses who have provided information have expressed concern for their welfare from retribution of those involved,” Detective Senior Constable Blake McClintock wrote in the document, which details a series of challenges confronting investigators.
ACT Police have arrested six men so far.
Frederick Tuifua, 26, of Silverwater in western Sydney, has been charged with murder.
Matthew Kupu, 22, and Osaiasi Avanua Sydney Kupu, 23, Maximilian Kurt Ellis Budack and two other men — whose names cannot be published — have been charged with affray.
“After the offence, all offenders fled the scene and gathered at another location where certain members of the group are believed to have changed their appearances and disposed of evidence,” police allege in the document, which has been filed in court.
In the weeks after Ulavalu’s alleged murder — and in the days after Budack was shot in an apparent reprisal attack — the fifth man fled interstate and would not tell his family where he was.
“Police have received information that threats have been directed towards (the fifth man) as a result of the affray and murder,” the document says.
The man has been refused bail, but if it is granted, the police say “there would be a significant risk to his safety and welfare posed by the Comanchero OMCG” and fear he “will flee … and will go into hiding out of concerns for his own safety and the safety of his family”.
The document confirms Budack’s shooting “is suspected to be retribution for the murder”.
ACT chief police officer Neil Gaughan’s told ABC radio earlier this month: “As a general member of our community, Canberra is a very safe city and I wouldn’t be concerned.”