Intruder shot dead at cannabis crop house, murder trial told

A man who broke into a cannabis crop house was shot dead as he left the property after his entry triggered a silent alarm, a murder trial has been told.

Andrew Toumayan and an associate gained entry to the unoccupied house in Ringwood in the early hours of April 17, 2018, but decided to leave empty-handed because they believed the plants were not mature enough.

Police investigate the shooting in Ringwood in April 2018.Credit:Fairfax Media

As Mr Toumayan was leaving through the gate of the property, he was shot on the left side of his chest, the Supreme Court heard.

The 28-year-old ran from the property and made it to another street but collapsed in a driveway and died. His associate was inside the house when the shot was fired and climbed over a fence to escape.

Prosecutors allege Albert Biba responded to the alarm, drove to the house and shot Mr Toumayan about 1am.

Mr Biba, 33, has pleaded not guilty to murder and cultivating cannabis in a commercial quantity.

His trial was told on Monday that Mr Biba was living in Box Hill at the time and was responsible for the crop house with another man.

When Mr Toumayan’s entry raised a silent alarm, Mr Biba was contacted by an associate and drove to the Ringwood house in a four-wheel-drive he had hired a week earlier, prosecutor Angela Ellis told the jury in an opening address.

“The prosecution case is that Mr Biba was the person who attended the house. The prosecution case is he shot Mr Toumayan and caused death,” Ms Ellis said.

Prosecutors would rely on data from a mobile phone tower and CCTV footage that showed the four-wheel-drive between Box Hill and Ringwood before and after the shooting to prove Mr Biba was the gunman, Ms Ellis said.

The accused man’s fingerprints were found on the alarm system in the crop house and on a light globe outside, while his DNA was detected on cigarette butts, a fork, an empty Red Bull can and a television remote, the prosecutor said.

Police discovered a sophisticated set-up inside the house after the shooting, Ms Ellis said, and seized 74 kilograms of cannabis plants.

Mr Biba’s barrister will address the jury on Tuesday before the first witness is called.

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