The brother and sister of an alleged murderer say they ‘deeply regret’ an ugly and violent clash with media, including a veteran TV reporter, outside of court.
The siblings of Sydney gang member and alleged murderer Mohammad Zarshoy “deeply regret” a violent and expletive ridden fracas with members of the media that was caught on camera, a court has heard.
Anita and Faisal Zarshoy were on Wednesday convicted over the ugly incident outside Parramatta Local Court last year, which descended into a fracas involving TV reporter Robert Ovadia and two cameramen.
The July 7 confrontation came as they left court after a hearing for Mohammad Zarshoy, a Brothers 4 Life associate who was charged the day before with shooting Robert Atkinson dead in Wentworthville.
The same court heard this week Faisal Zarshoy gave TV cameras the finger before making a “b-line” for senior 7 News journalist Mr Ovadia, slapping away his microphone and shoving a camera lens.
TV camera footage played in court captured the 26-year-old’s insults hurled at the pursuing media pack as Mr Ovadia, who had recovered his microphone and was asking questions, walked beside.
“You f***ing dog,” Faisal Zarshoy said. “Get the f*** out of here you f***ing mutt.”
Later, after pushing the camera again, he says: “Go f*** your mum, how’s that? Go f*** your mum.”
A “heated” Faisal Zarshoy, as his lawyer Gregory Stanton described him, squared up to the veteran reporter and butted him in the head with the peak of his baseball cap.
Mr Ovadia, who the court heard feared a further assault, raised his hands and shoved his attacker.
Older sister Ms Zarshoy was not far behind the skirmish and could be seen in separate CCTV footage pushing a second camera towards its operator five times in quick succession.
“Thanks, buddy, we didn’t have a story until you came along,” Mr Ovadia called out as the Zarshoys left.
Mr Ovadia did not make a complaint, but after Channel 7 reported the incident, the Zarshoys were charged when police raided the Zarshoy family home in The Ponds on July 16.
Court documents state an elderly lady was seen ducking away from the melee and was forced to grab hold of a bollard for support.
Anita Zarshoy, 30, would later plead guilty to common assault, while Faisal Zarshoy pleaded guilty to affray.
Outside court on Wednesday he smiled for a news photographer but his sister was less forthcoming and attempted to hide her face as she ran from the building.
Inside, their barrister Mr Stanton said the siblings “deeply regret” their actions last July but argued they only lashed out after being provoked and “harangued” by the media.
He said their tempers were “frayed” as they dealt with the news of their brother’s charge and were faced with “agitation” from journalists.
“It must have become immediate and obvious that Mr Zarshoy and his sister were not prepared to engage in a dialogue with the press … but they persisted both physically in moving into my clients and questioning them and the like,” Mr Stanton said.
“They (the media) could have backed off. These people were not going to talk to them. They were angry, they were frustrated.”
Police prosecutor Sergeant Andrew Bonora, attached to gang-busting squad Strike Force Raptor, told the court Faisal Zarshoy had a record of “significant violence”.
Sergeant Bonora said the 26-year-old “clearly targeted the media”, and did not need provocation.
“This matter that occurred outside this courthouse (and) involved more than one victim. There was no provocation as my friend puts it,” he said.
“The press are doing as they are employed to do. They were waiting out the front and it is Mr Zarshoy who makes a b-line straight for this reporter.”
Magistrate Kate Thompson said agreed facts stated a court sheriff had advised the Zarshoys to “ignore” the media pack as they left but Faisal still exited the building in “open hostility”.
“The journalists were at the time carrying out their duty reporting and they are entitled to protection when they are carrying out their duty,” she said.
That the incident unfolded outside a court of law and was witnessed by several alarmed pedestrians was “an affront to the administration of justice,” the magistrate said.
She handed Anita Zarshoy a $600 fine and an 18-month good behaviour bond with supervision, saying her involvement was “violent” but fleeting.
The court heard Anita Zarshoy was embarrassed about her brother’s murder charge at the time and had since lost her employment as a result of her own charges.
Faisal Zarshoy, whose actions Magistrate Thompson described as being more serious, was given a 14 month intensive corrections order.