A crash between two cars was “not an accident” but a deliberate act before those involved started making insurance claims, a prosecutor has alleged.
Husband and wife Rabea Fares and Lina Faris are fighting their charges in an ACT Supreme Court trial that began on Tuesday (7 November).
The couple had been injured when the black Audi they had been inside was hit from behind by a silver BMW on Eucumbene Drive in Duffy on 27 February 2020.
A photo showed the BMW smashed against the Audi with a broken bonnet.
After the crash, several insurance claims were made, both for the cars and injuries sustained, prosecutor Morgan Howe told jurors in his opening address.
However, he claimed this was “not an organic car accident, but rather a staged car accident”.
Mr Howe said police arrived at the crash site to find four people who were apparently involved. Ms Faris claimed to have been driving the Audi with Mr Fares in her front passenger seat, while Saba Al Kinani said she had driven the BMW and her brother Adam Hasan Kilani was her passenger.
But it is alleged police saw that while the driver’s airbag in the BMW had been deployed, the one on the passenger’s side had not.
Also, they allegedly saw a tyre mark and scrape that suggested the Audi had been stationary at the time of the accident. The couple had been taken to hospital due to their injuries.
Mr Howe expected jurors would hear Ms Faris told police she had been driving to the speed limit and felt “a big bang”, also claiming a woman had been driving the BMW.
Mr Howe alleged Ms Faris lodged a damage claim for the Audi with her insurer, Suncorp Insurance, while both she and her husband lodged claims over their injuries against the third-party insurer for the BMW, being the NRMA.
Mr Howe said police also obtained the call records for Mr Kilani’s phone number, which appeared to show a call between it and a number used by Ms Faris and Mr Fares three-and-a-half hours before the crash.
He claimed these two numbers had exchanged numerous calls and texts in the weeks before the accident.
Mr Howe also alleged a police officer recalled an incident in 2019 during which Mr Fares and Mr Kilani had both been present and said they had been doing “painting work” together.
He said when Mr Kilani made an insurance claim on the BMW, he stated that his sister had driven the car.
Mr Howe said both Mr Kilani and Ms Al Kinani would be called as witnesses and he expected the former would tell jurors he had actually been the driver of the BMW, while the latter would say she drove a third car to the location after the crash.
He said the prosecution case was Mr Kilani had allegedly deliberately driven the BMW into the back of the Audi and Ms Fares and Ms Faris knew this was going to happen.
Ms Faris and Mr Fares have been charged with attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage by deception, among other charges. They pleaded not guilty.
The trial continues before Acting Justice Peter Berman.