Gunman and his associate are each jailed for at least two decades over the brazen daylight murder of a lawyer who was shot dead as he chatted with friends at a cafe
- Western Sydney lawyer Ho Ledinh was gunned down at cafe in January of 2018
- Gunman Arthur Keleklio and associate Abraham Sinai both jailed on Friday
- Keleklio will serve 20 years and three months, Sinai 22 years and six months
- Ledinh, 65 was murdered outside the Happy Cup cafe in Bankstown City Plaza
- Motive for murder remains unknown after sentencing in NSW Supreme Court
Two men will each serve at least two decades behind bars for the brazen daylight execution of a Sydney solicitor as he sat with friends outside a shopping centre cafe.
Gunman Arthur Keleklio was jailed for at least 20 years and three months, while Abraham Sinai was jailed for at least 22 years and six months for his role in the murder of Ho Ledinh.
In sentencing the men in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Justice Robert Allan Hulme said the way in which the murder was carried out was brazen in the extreme.
‘In the mid-afternoon of Tuesday 23 January 2018 Mr Ledinh was sitting with others at a table outside the Happy Cup cafe in Bankstown City Plaza,’ Justice Hulme said.
‘Mr Keleklio walked up behind him and fired three shots from a .45 calibre handgun.
‘Mr Ledinh fell to the ground and died soon after.’
Western Sydney lawyer Ho Ledinh (pictured with wife Ngo Thu Huong and two of their three children) was gunned down at a Bankstown cafe in January 2018
On Friday in the NSW Supreme Court, gunman Arthur Keleklio (pictured) was jailed for at least 20 years and three months for the cold blooded execution of Ho Ledinh
Vivian Vo, a family friend of Mr Ledinh, collapsed to the ground at the scene where the solicitor was gunned down in 2018
He set a maximum term of 30 years for Sinai and 27 years for Keleklio.
‘Gun violence carried out in public with lethal intention and effect is abhorrent in our community, and courts must send a clear and consistent message of deterrence in their sentencing responses.’
Mr Ledinh’s clients included persons in the drug trade and, the judge said, events in the months leading up to his death may well have had something to do with the shooting.
The 65-year-old, who had owned the Happy Cup with Tri Van Nguyen, told his wife Tri was ‘a big drug dealer’ and that the cafe was used to launder money for Tri’s syndicate.
She testified that her husband acted as a debt collector for Tri, was in financial difficulties and when he sold the cafe when Tri was in jail, he retained the proceeds.
The judge said the evidence was incapable of establishing definitively a motive for the murder.
‘It seems, however, to have been common ground that the murder had something to do with Mr Ledinh’s association with persons involved in quite serious criminality.’
He rejected Keleklio’s evidence that the original plan was to collect a debt from Mr Ledinh and that this changed at the last moment to a plan to shoot him in the foot or the leg.
CCTV cameras filmed the attack itself while numerous cameras filmed the getaway.
‘As shambolic as some aspects were, this was a shooting to kill,’ the judge said.
‘A crime that is amateurishly planned or clumsily executed is not necessarily a crime of lesser seriousness.’
Keleklio pleaded guilty to the murder, while Sinai was found guilty on the basis of being part of a joint criminal enterprise with his role including planning and helping the gunman.
Mr Ledinh, a father-of-five, was a well-known lawyer in Sydney’s western suburbs
The murder unfolded in front of shocked customers at the Happy Cup café in Bankstown Plaza in January 2018 (pictured, police at the scene)
Mr Ledinh pictured with his family. A judge said the evidence was incapable of establishing definitively a motive for the murder
The judge found the men, both of Samoan heritage but born in New Zealand, had reasonable prospects of rehabilitation.
He referred to the ‘very sad’ victim impact statement of Mr Ledinh’s widow who spoke of the extreme grief, stress and anxiety caused by her the horrific murder.
Statements from two daughters from an earlier relationship provide ‘remarkable accounts of relationships with a wonderful father that are as balanced and realistic as they are moving.
‘He was not an angel, or perfect, but he was much loved.’