Volume 92, Issue 36

Friday, November 6, 1998

bigger than the post


Assault suspects deny charges

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

The four individuals charged in connection with a Sept. 19 assault at the Wave appeared before London's criminal courts yesterday.

Hosam and Wosam Halbouni and Hany and Hicham Lebada's day in court was put on hold temporarily at the request of one of the defence counsels. Murry Neilson, lawyer for the Lebadas, said an adjournment was requested by Randy Killey, an agent representing the Halbouni's lawyer Harold Stafford, because they were not ready.

The crown made a request of their own requiring the Halbouni brothers not communicate with the Lebada brothers or with Jeffrey Armour, Tanya Semeniuk or Robert Clark, the alleged victims, unless in the presence of counsel.

This is a very common request in these types of cases, said Neilson, who added his clients are just eager to get on with the trial. "My clients are anxious to get a court date as soon as possible. Whether it will be by the end of the year is questionable – it's difficult to find a date when all parties can attend."

Neilson said his clients are going to get the best possible defence he is able to give them and they have stated their innocence to him. "According to my instructions, my clients are emphatic they are not guilty."

Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the London police said they believe there is a connection between the four males who appeared in court yesterday and the larger group of males which have been dubbed by the media as the "preppy gang."

He added while it is up to the courts to determine a conviction in this case, the arresting officers would not have made an arrest unless they had reasonable grounds to believe an offence was committed and that they could get a conviction from the crown.

O'Flaherty said there have been no similar incidents of violence by this gang around London since these arrests were made. "I hope and believe they got the message."

Neilson said when his clients return to court on Nov. 24 a trial date will be set.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998