Tuesday, 31 January 2012

MURDERED former Comanchero bikie Giovanni Focarelli will be buried within 24 hours of the release of his body, as per Muslim custom,


 a court has heard. Focarelli's friend and associate, Michael Sfyris, appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court this morning. He is jointly charged with Giovanni Focarelli and his father, Vince, with an alleged Melbourne Cup Day affray at the Highway Hotel on Anzac Highway. AdelaideNow understands the men are no longer members of the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle gang, and have not been for about a month. Last week, Sfyris lodged an application with the court, seeking to vary his bail conditions. Sfyris - manager of the Ink Central tattoo parlour on Hindley St - wanted the court to delete a clause that banned him from speaking with Giovanni Focarelli, who was an employee. Today, Steven Georgiadis, for Sfyris, said his client no longer pursued that application. "Unfortunately, Giovanni Focarelli has passed away," he said. "In that regard, we are wondering if, with all respect, this court will entertain an application to vary Mr Sfyris' bail to allow him to attend the funeral." He said no funeral arrangements had yet been made. "In saying that, we understand that it is traditional in the Muslim culture that the funeral take place within 24 hours (of death)," he said. "We're not sure whether police are releasing the body or not." Magistrate Paul Foley said the request "sounded reasonable". However, Emmanuel Athans, prosecuting, opposed the application. "I cannot agree to a request to attend a funeral while not knowing how long it will be, what date it will take place, where it will be held and who else will be attending," he said. Mr Georgiadis said his client only required permission to attend the mosque, and would continue to abide by the conditions of his bail. "One of the current bail conditions is that he is not allowed to associate with Vince Focarelli," he said. "We want to avoid an interpretation issue as to what might - in the eyes of police - constitute 'assocation' at a funeral." Mr Foley said he would consider the application again once arrangements had been made for the funeral. He gave Sfyris permission to have the matter called on at short notice, agreeing to make himself available to hear it. Sfyris did not comment as he left court.

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