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Murder trial preventing Underbelly TV screening begins

THE jury in a gangland murder trial has watched security footage of underworld patriarch Lewis Moran being gunned down in a Brunswick bar.

Evangelos Goussis has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Lewis Moran and the attempted murder of Herbert Wrout at the Brunswick Club in March 2004.

The trial, which began today, has prevented Victorians from legally viewing the Underbelly TV series.

The Supreme Court jury this morning heard underworld identities Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel offered $150,000 for the murder of Moran during the gangland war.

Prosecutor Andrew Tinney said in his opening address that the pair were able to get their wish fairly quickly, with Mr Goussis and two other criminals accepting the deal.

"In Victoria at that time there were men around that were willing to do the bidding of the likes of Carl Williams … for money ... or simply because they were asked to do it by such a powerful individual," he said.

The court heard claims a career criminal planned the murder and acted as getaway driver, with Mr Goussis and another man carrying out the shootings.

The prosecutor told the jury the killing took place in front of innocent bystanders at the suburban watering hole, with the two gunmen showing a brazen disregard for the lives of others.

Mr Moran, 58, saw what was about to happen and fled, chased by Mr Goussis until he bumped into a female member of staff and was cornered, the court heard.

He was shot twice at close range. Mr Wrout was shot in the body by the second gunman, who stood in the doorway of the club.

The jury watched security footage of the killing and saw a man, who the prosecution allege is Goussis, wearing a balaclava and armed with a shotgun enter the club and run in the direction of Mr Moran.

Lewis saw his attacker and ran down a corridor only to be trapped in another room.

As he cowered in the corner, his attacker, having dispensed with the shotgun, shot him with a large calibre handgun.

As Mr Moran slumped to the floor, his attacker leans forward and fires another shot.

In his opening address, Mr Tinney told the jury members they would enter a world vastly different to their own as the trial progressed.

"It is a world of gangland intrigue and violence," he told them.

But he also warned that the trial was not about a case of gangland war, but of specific crimes.

The jury heard that Moran was associated with the so-called "Carlton Crew" and that his killers had been employed by a rival faction headed by Mokbel, who along with Williams, had offered $150,000 to Moran's killers.

Goussis, 29, is also charged with attempting to murder Mr Moran's friend Herbert Wrout.

The trial before Justice Betty King is continuing.

By Elissa Hunt
April 07, 2008
Herald Sun