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    Gangland killing 'self defence'
    December 13, 2004 - 2:12PM
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    Andrew Veniamin was shot dead in a Melbourne restaurant on March 23 this year.

    Andrew Veniamin was shot dead in a Melbourne restaurant on March 23 this year.
    Photo: Craig Abraham

    Accused Melbourne underworld murderer Dominic "Mick" Gatto shot alleged hit-man Andrew "Benji" Veniamin in self defence during an altercation in a city restaurant, the Melbourne Magistrates' Court was told today.

    Gatto, 49, of East Doncaster, today faced the first day of a committal hearing over the murder of Veniamin in the Carlton restaurant on March 23 this year.

    Defence lawyer Tony Howard, QC, said Gatto acted in self defence after Veniamin attacked him and produced a .38 revolver while the pair were standing in a passageway at the rear of a restaurant away from other patrons.

    "Mr Gatto, consistently at the time, when he emerged from the back of the kitchen, said immediately that Mr Veniamin had tried to attack him, had pulled a gun and he defended himself," Mr Howard said.

    "The defendant strongly denies having acted in any improper or inappropriate, any unlawful way as far as Mr Veniamin is concerned.

    "I strongly refute that the .38 revolver was the defendant's weapon. It was a weapon produced by Mr Veniamin."

    Prosecutor Geoff Horgan, SC, rejected this version of events, saying the gun used to shoot Veniamin belonged to Gatto.
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    Mr Horgan said Gatto murdered Veniamin at the restaurant and then set up a defence by claiming that Veniamin had tried to shoot him first.
 
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