Justice Davies said he found the evidence of Fatima Hage, who was in bed with Mr Barakat when he was shot and said he did not open the door to his killers, was “honest” and “very largely consistent”.
Ms Hage had told the court Mr Barakat was “anal” about security, which Justice Davies accepted, noting he had previously been shot at, and armed intruders had made a previous attempt to get into his unit.
Ms Hage, who said the intruders wore bullet-proof vests, balaclavas, and shouted “NSW Police” as they stormed in, had told the court Mr Barakat pushed her head away just before she heard the gunshots and she believed she was going to die.
After the gunfire stopped, she said she moved over to Mr Barakat, who was coughing and told her, “I’m sorry.” She prayed with him in Arabic before he stopped breathing.
“It was difficult to imagine the horror of what she experienced that night,” Justice Davies said. “She thought she was about to be killed, too.”
He said he accepted “entirely” her evidence that neither she nor Mr Barakat let the intruders in.
Justice Davies said there “is no realistic possibility that the deceased had the key duplicated” and there was nothing in the evidence to suggest anyone else had a copy, including Mr Barakat’s estranged wife, real estate agent, or others who played a role in fixing the door.
Jaghbir was “the only person who had access to the relevant key prior to it being given to the deceased” on the night he was killed, Justice Davies found.
He said Jaghbir was in regular contact with convicted killer Emad Sleiman, who Jaghbir believed to be involved in Mr Barakat’s killing, and a number of intercepted conversations implied Jaghbir was involved.
Along with the admissions Jaghbir made in conversations, Justice Davies said, “taking into account that the assailants entered the unit using a key, the accused’s opportunity and capacity to have the key duplicated … his contacts with Mr Sleiman at the relevant times, and his belief that Mr Sleiman was involved in the deceased’s killing, I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused provided assistance to the assailants by supplying a key or duplicate key to enable access to the deceased’s unit to kill the deceased by shooting him”.
As for why he would betray his friend, Justice Davies said it was not necessary for him to determine the motive, but that there were three potential avenues.
Mr Barakat was a suspect in a string of prior murders, the last victim of which had been a friend of Jaghbir.
A second possible motive was that Mr Barakat’s crew had “ripped” Jaghbir off, which he spoke about in a recorded conversation.
A payment of $25,000 to Jaghbir from Sleiman could also have been a reward for his involvement, Justice Davies said.
Jaghbir, also a business associate of disgraced former deputy mayor of Auburn Salim Mehajer, sat crouched over in the dock as Justice Davies read out his judgment.
He showed little emotion as the verdict was delivered, but glanced skyward.
He was released on bail and will return to court for sentencing at a later date.
Outside court, Mr Barakat’s father told reporters the verdict was “a bit of justice for my son”.
Jenny Noyes is a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald.