14 December 2022

Attempted murderer Ali Ammoun pleads guilty to Canberra Airport shooting

| Albert McKnight
Man in suit

Ali Rachid Ammoun was charged over the shooting at Canberra Airport. Photo: Facebook.

A man found guilty of attempted murder over a decade ago has confessed to the shocking shooting at the Canberra Airport earlier this year.

Ali Rachid Ammoun was accused of using a revolver to shoot windows at the airport on 14 August 2022, causing chaos at the facility and sending it into lockdown.

The 63-year-old was remanded in custody and appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court again on Wednesday (14 December) where he pleaded guilty to charges of recklessly discharging a firearm at a dwelling and unauthorised possession of a .38/200 Smith & Wesson revolver.

The particular facts of what he pleaded guilty to have not yet been publicly revealed.

But when Ammoun first appeared in court, a suppression order was made on several matters in the case, including reporting on his criminal history from Western Australia. On Wednesday, this order was removed by Magistrate Robert Cook.

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In 2008, Ammoun was convicted of attempting to murder his ex-wife, as well as other charges, for which he was sentenced to 16 years’ jail by the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

He was on parole for this sentence when he committed the shooting at the airport.

After he pleaded guilty, lawyers argued over whether he should be sentenced in the Magistrates Court or the Supreme Court.

Prosecutor Andrew Chatterton fought for it to be committed to the higher court. When it came to the charge of recklessly discharging a firearm at a dwelling, he argued, “this is getting towards a worst-case example of this type of offending, bearing in mind the location where the gun was fired”.

He also flagged that at least 20 victim impact statements would be tendered to the court on sentencing.

With “such a significant number of victims who would want their experience to be heard before the court”, he argued it was more appropriate to deal with it in the Supreme Court’s facilities.

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Magistrate Cook said he understood how some would want to watch the administration of justice, but on the other hand, he said, “this is not an exhibition” and was a sentencing process.

He ultimately sided with Ammoun’s Legal Aid lawyer Tamzin Lee and found it was appropriate to deal with it in the Magistrates Court.

A sentencing date for Ammoun, who is still in custody, was set for 21 February 2023.

A third charge that had originally been laid against him, discharging loaded arms to cause fear, was withdrawn.

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