15 November 2023

Wannabe insurance fraudsters Rabea Fares and Lina Faris found guilty of staging car crash

| Albert McKnight
woman and man gesticulating angrily

Lina Faris (left) and Rabea Fares gestured at the media when photographed during their trial. Photos: Albert McKnight.

A husband and wife accused of staging a car crash before making insurance claims have been found guilty of all their charges.

Rabea Fares and Lina Faris faced an ACT Supreme Court trial that began earlier this month before finishing this week.

The 12 jurors deliberated for just over a day before returning to the courtroom on Wednesday afternoon (15 November). They found them guilty of three charges, including attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage by deception.

The married couple did not visibly react when the verdicts were delivered.

Acting Justice Peter Berman thanked the jurors for their service and discharged them. He adjourned the matter until later this month to organise a sentencing date.

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Jurors heard police arrived at the crash site to find a black Audi had been hit from behind by a silver BMW on Eucumbene Drive in Duffy on 27 February 2020.

Initially, Faris claimed to have been driving the Audi with 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.

However, Kilani later admitted he drove the BMW.

Several insurance claims were made after the crash, both for the cars and injuries.

angry man holding a half-eaten roll

Rabea Fares speaks to a member of the media outside the courthouse during his trial. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Jurors heard the BMW was insured for $132,000 – even though it had been purchased for $25,000 – while the Audi was insured for $55,000.

During closing submissions, prosecutor Morgan Howe alleged Kilani had driven his car, which he’d insured for “a very large sum”, into the back of the Audi – a car that contained a person he knew and had talked to earlier that same day.

He claimed Kilani and Fares worked as painters and had known each other since 2018.

Faris told police she had been driving normally when she was hit from behind. She said a woman had been driving the BMW, then told her insurer she’d been in the middle of the road at the time of the crash.

But police claimed the Audi would have been stationary and parked on the side of the road after looking at the marks at the scene. They said there were no marks to indicate the Audi had braked.

Also, Mr Howe claimed the BMW was going about 40 km/h at the time of the crash when the speed limit was 80 km/h.

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Barrister Todd Pickering said Fares was financially successful and argued there was no financial motivation for the alleged crime. Also, there was no evidence of contact between Kilani and Fares after the crash.

Meanwhile, barrister Dean Ager said there was no evidence Faris knew there was an alleged plan for Kilani to drive his BMW into their Audi.

“Do not assume a husband tells his wife everything,” he concluded.

man and woman entering court

Rabea Fares approaches the courthouse with his wife, Lina Faris. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Kilani testified before the jurors, but Mr Howe called him “an entirely unreliable witness” who has already pleaded guilty to attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception and dangerous driving.

“Mr Kilani was a witness who we know lied to the police and lied to the insurer,” the prosecutor said.

Kilani also remains to be sentenced.

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