Here's why he might be ok:
1/ Gatto may have been tooled up- but he'd not done a whole lotta shooting in a looong time. If Benji was to be knocked by the Carlton Crew, it certainly would not be Gatto in a fucking restaurant, in front of so many witnesses. No fucking way.
2/ Gatto is not fond of the sponsor's product while our ol' mate Benji was a dancin' shakin', two-lines-before-brekky kinda bloke:
Mr Horgan said the conversations showed the change in their relationship, from one of friendship to one where Gatto was wary of Veniamin.
That's mostly due to Benji becoming a button-down-psycho in his final months. He was a paranoid, aggro, tooled up little upstart who was on borrowed time from the moment he met Carl and Tony Mokbel. If I was Gatto, I'd have been fucking wary of the pocket rocket too. We here at MU reckon that if Gatto hadn't nailed him, someone would have- and that someone could have come from either the Carlton Crew OR even the Williams/Mokbel crew. That's how much of a liability Benji was becoming.
3/ Benji was believing his own bullshit. He's knocked a few easy cases, and possibly the Munster (though the cops conveniently say he didn't do it now coz it helps to mess with Gatto's post shooting words) and frankly I reckon he was keen to have a go at Gatto. Maybe not kill him there 'n then, but certainly stick a rosco up his nose and see what came out. Wrong move Benji old bean.
For a while there, it seemed that Gatto was trying to broker a true between the warring groups. Fighting might be fun, but there was money to be made and if the two main players couldn't get their shit together and get back to the task at hand-the drug trade- then some smart bunch would. Vietnamese crews moving away from heroin, Russian mafia, Philippines crews, Indos, Schapelle Corby, the list of possible players goes on.
It would make sense to get Gatto to get it all cooled down. He's negotiated some interesting settlements in industrial relations before, and the underworld is just like the real world, but with bullets, death, drugs and this blog.
But sending Benji to negotiate with Gatto? Not fucking likely!
The Fifth Element:
(tense) Send someone to negotiate!
Mind if I go? I'm an excellent negotiator.
Uh... Sure, go ahead.
Korben gets ready.
We're sending someone in who's authorized to negotiate.
Korben walks quickly into the room, heads straight for Akanit, raises his gun and puts a bullet through his head.
Anyone else want to negotiate?
(to another Cop)
Where'd he learn to negotiate like that?
Where Mr Gatto has a problem
1/ Five. Fucking. Shots. Once for fear, twice for adrenalin, thrice for certainty. But four 'n five were pure indulgence.
"In that passageway . . . the deceased man, Andrew Veniamin, had no retreat and nowhere to hide," Mr Horgan said. "The accused man . . . shot him twice to the neck and once to the head. He shot at him a fourth time as the deceased lay dying on the floor of the passageway . . . but he missed. In all, five shots were fired."
Christ Mick, one more shot and you'd have had to reload. Why not saw his head off to finish him?
2/ How the defence handle the issue of the gun's sudden arrival on the scene is muy importante aussi. They will say it was Benji's. We here at MU have no opinion either way. We would be 90% sure that Gatto was tooled up. Normally Benji would be too BUT:
Veniamin was wearing white thongs, elastic-waisted three-quarter pants, a light T-shirt and boxer shorts, clothing that would not have enabled him to hide a weapon. Mr Horgan said neither the restaurant owner nor anyone at Gatto's table noticed anything to suggest Veniamin had a gun.
Who said Benji would hide a weapon? We're talking 'bout a fucking hitman not a boyscout who's showing a gun to his mates. It would come as no surprise to see Benji roscoed up with it pointing right at his cock Workcover would have a field day there...
If the prosecution contend that Benji was unarmed, cast your mind back to the early days of this website, when Benji was first killed and we ran this quote from the Herald Sun:
But Veniamin was a known hothead, who sources said started "going nuts and losing the plot" about eight months ago.
"He was getting carried away, driving his $200,000 Mercedes while tooled up (carrying a gun)," a former detective told the Herald Sun.
"He wouldn't leave home without a rosco (gun). He wouldn't even go to the bathroom without one. He was paranoid, and a lot of people started distancing themselves because he was getting out of control and upsetting people left, right and centre."
Now, get that to fly...
Five shots that ended a life - Crime & Corruption - www.theage.com.au