A teen who admitted to killing a man but was acquitted of his murder has been ordered to front court and confesses under oath.
Khalid Baker was on the verge of becoming a national hero in 2005 when he was charged with the murder of Perth man Albert Dudley Snowball.
Known as ‘The Smiling Assassin’ in Melbourne’s western suburbs where he grew up, the then 18-year old’s mate, who cannot be named for legal reasons, long maintained it had been him alone who caused Mr Snowball’s death.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of Victoria ordered Baker’s mate enter the witness box and repeat what he has already publicly claimed about the events of that night.
Khalid Baker is back in the ring after spending 13 years in jail for a crime another man says he committed
Baker and Melbourne television identity Eddie McGuire after Baker was released from jail
On May 26, 2008 Baker was convicted of Mr Snowball’s murder and sentenced to 17 years in jail with a non-parole period of 12 years.
The 22-year old had been unfortunate to have got into a scuffle with Baker’s mate at a party in trendy Brunswick.
He fell four meters after being shoved through a window and died in hospital two days later from head injuries.
Baker spent 13 years in prison before he was released in 2018.
He has since maintained his innocence, launching unsuccessful appeals with the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2010 and the High Court in 2012.
In May, Baker brought on another appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria on the basis of ‘fresh and compelling evidence’ that it was his co-accused whose actions alone caused the death of Mr Snowball.
Baker had hoped ‘LM’, as he is required to be known under the law, would willingly attend court to admit to the crime, clearing Baker’s name once and for all.
Baker’s mate had offered to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the offer was rejected by prosecutors at the time because Baker refused to do likewise.
Baker’s version of events had been supported by three eye witnesses at trial, who claimed he ‘wasn’t even near them when it happened’.
The young boxer had in fact been ‘down on the next level getting held back by other people’, a witness claimed.
Khalid Baker with Faruk Orman, who was acquitted of murder and released from jail because of the Nicola Gobbo scandal
Baker is determined to clear his name after spending 13 years behind bars
The witnesses that supported Baker had all been ‘black’, with LMs barrister urging the jury to find that ‘the white witnesses’ were ‘witnesses of truth’.
The jury was told the evidence of ‘the black witnesses’ was either ‘dishonest… or evasive.’
WHAT THE MAN WHO CLAIMS HE IS THE REAL KILLER SAYS HAPPENED
Court documents lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria state LM made several interviews with the media between 2018-2019 in which he claimed:
Mr Snowball hit him on the landing and then he and the deceased ‘got into a scuffle’ approximately 1-1.5 meters from the window
LM ‘pushed him away’ and walked away and ‘at this whole time when this was happening, Baker was not near me’.
LM claimed no-one at the party knew who they were
‘Nobody knew us… they say its Baker but how… how do they know who Baker was or who I was’.
Asked who should have gone to jail, LM stated: ‘Not Baker, it should have been me’. Baker wasn’t nowhere near that happened… I’m 100% sure that he was not near Mr Snowball’.
LM pleaded not guilty to murder and was acquitted by a jury.
While he could not be compelled to give evidence at Baker’s initial trial, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled he can be now.
The court heard LM could fall foul of Victoria’s double jeopardy laws by confessing in open court to the crime.
The law, which once stated that no one should be tried or punished twice for the same offence, was reformed in 2011, opening the gateway for fresh trials to be ordered where there is compelling new evidence that a person previously acquired of a serious crime is guilty.
LM was acquitted despite the jury hearing evidence he had told police in a record of interview that he had ‘grabbed’ and ‘pushed’ Mr Snowball prior to him going out the window and ‘assumed’ he went out the window as a result of the push.
Baker’s barristers claimed there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice – one that cost Baker 13 years of what should have been the best years of his life.
In documents lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria, Baker’s legal team submits LM had admitted both that he had the final physical contact with Mr Snowball and Baker was not involved in or proximate to that final physical contact.
Since Baker’s jailing, LM has provided statements and conducted television interviews with 60 Minutes, The Law Report and The Project admitting he was responsible.
LM had told his friends at the time that it was he who had pushed Mr Snowball through the window.
”I pushed (him) back and he accidentally went out the window,’ he told a long time friend.
‘I looked out the window and saw (him) laying on the ground.’
The man once known as ‘The Smiling Assassin’ is back in the ring after spending 13 years in jail
Khalid Baker is determined to clear his name after spending 13 years in jail for murder
The window Albert Snowball fell to his death from in 2005
When Baker went to trial, none of the evidence provided by LM could be put before the jury and he could not be compelled to do so.
Admissions of guilt made by LM prior to the trial were ruled inadmissible, a claim upheld by the High Court.
LM’s evidence was deemed crucial by the Supreme Court of Victoria if Baker’s appeal was to be granted.
It is understood LM will likely apply to be granted immunity from prosecution upon entering the witness box on August 23.
Prosecutors had opposed Baker’s bid to get LM before the court, claiming the court had no power to compel him to do so.
The court heard LM had told Baker he would face the court willingly, but changed his mind just days before he was due to appear.
The move saw Baker sack his barrister Ruth Shann SC, who is renowned as one of the best barristers in the country and sat on the legal team for Cardinal George Pell.
On Monday, his new barrister, Julie Condon, QC, told the court Baker’s appeal would be ‘fatal’ without LM’s evidence.
‘We seek him to be made subject to an order… it’s his last shot,’ she said.
Khalid Baker and Today’s Allison Langdon
Baker and former Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg
Khalid Baker is a man on a mission in and out of the ring
Since Baker’s release from prison, he has won each of his nine fights – seven by knockout.
Baker had come out of prison in peak condition after following a strict physical regimen that continues on the outside.
Sources say Baker has never used drugs and refuses to have a drink.
Those who know Baker say he has unfinished business after his dreams of representing Australia in the Commonwealth Games was thwarted by his jailing.
Back then, Baker had been in a similar position, having won nine fights straight with his eyes set firmly on success.
‘People always put me down when I was young,’ Baker told this reporter in 2005.
‘They said I’d amount to nothing, and now I’m getting somewhere everyone is scared. They don’t want me to go where I want to go.’
Now training with Sydney’s Billy Hussein and Melbourne’s Peter Hatton, Baker is rumored to be contemplating a move up into the heavyweight division where he could face-off with former AFL bad boy Barry Hall.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Baker for comment, but he was unable to speak under legal advice until his appeal process has come to its conclusion.
Those close to him say Baker remains as determined to succeed in life as he did as a hungry 18-year old yearning for respect in and out of the ring.
When not training and fighting, Baker has been kept busy on the speaking circuit, where he has been inspiring others with his story.
When not addressing AFL footballers, Baker spends his time talking to young kids who may be experiencing some of the problems he endured growing up.
‘He’s not going to sit there and be a victim,’ Baker’s friend told Daily Mail Australia.
‘He’s going to be a success to his story and let people know that whatever you go through, you can come back and it will make you a better person for it.’
Baker’s quest for redemption will hit the Supreme Court again on August 23.