Lawyer hit in brazen shooting tight-lipped with police

Duncan Murray and Samantha Lock |

Criminal defence lawyer Mahmoud Abbas was shot in his driveway in July 2023.
Criminal defence lawyer Mahmoud Abbas was shot in his driveway in July 2023.

A Sydney lawyer targeted in a brazen daylight shooting has provided little help to investigators despite a target remaining on his back, police say.

In a bid to find the man responsible for the attack detectives have released CCTV showing the chilling moments before criminal defence lawyer Mahmoud Abbas was shot.

Mr Abbas survived the shooting, which happened in the driveway of his southwestern Sydney home about 10.25am on July 26.

Police found the 30-year-old suffering gunshot wounds, which were treated at the scene before he was taken to hospital for emergency surgery.

Detective Superintendent Grant Taylor on Wednesday said Mr Abbas’s life had been “turned upside down” and he remained at risk after the attack.

But the lawyer had provided “very little information” to police despite the continued threat to his life, he added.

Mr Abbas had been contacted for comment.

Det Supt Taylor said police were very confident the gunman intended to kill the lawyer.

“They weren’t mucking around,” he said.

“It was a high-powered handgun that was utilised.”

The CCTV footage, released on Wednesday, shows a gunman emerging from behind a black Jeep SUV parked across the Greenacre street and charging towards Mr Abbas while holding what looks to be a large pistol.

Mr Abbas appears to react with shock to the gunman, whose face is covered by a hood or balaclava, before the footage cuts away before the shooting.

Police believe the gunman might have been waiting in the Jeep, which was recovered a day later in nearby Wiley Park.

Images of the vehicle show a red jerry can in the back seat.

Detectives are appealing for anyone with information about the incident, the identity of the gunman or the movements of the car to come forward.

Det Supt Taylor said police were still working on a possible motive. 

“We all know that there’s a potential for organised crime linked to many of these shootings,” he said.

Mr Abbas has represented several high-profile clients, including members of an alleged ISIS-inspired terror cell charged with plotting to destroy Sydney landmarks.

Police initially seized electronic devices owned by Mr Abbas, including computers and phones, after the attack, but they were forced by a court to return them after he launched legal action.

A jeep seized by police
A black Jeep linked to the gunman was recovered by police a day later with a red jerry can inside. (HANDOUT/NSW POLICE)

Lawyers for NSW Police previously said officers were yet to finish reviewing the devices but had found information “highly relevant” to their investigation.

Det Supt Taylor said police were keeping any clues gleaned from the devices “close to (their) chests” at this stage.

During an August court hearing, Mr Abbas’s representatives told a court he needed the devices back to continue running his law firm and he was prepared to make an undertaking not to delete any material.