Sport Boxer convicted of murder fights back after another man confesses
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Khalid Baker was on the verge of becoming a national hero in 2005 when his life took a deadly turn.
Known as 'The Smiling Assassin' in's western suburbs where he grew up, the then 18-year old was drawing large crowds to boxing events across the country on the back of his amazing skills and colourful personality.
But on November 27 that year, Baker's decision to attend a party in trendy Brunswick with a mate would forever change the course of his life and that of the family of the man he is said to have murdered.
Perth man Albert Dudley Snowball, 22, had been unfortunate to have got into a scuffle with Baker's mate, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
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He fell four metres after being shoved through a window and died in hospital two days later from head injuries.
On May 26, 2008 Baker was convicted of Mr Snowball's murder and sentenced to 17 years in jail with a non-parole period of 12 years.
Baker spent 13 years in prison before he was released in 2018.
He has since maintained his innocence, launching unsuccessful appeals with the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2010 and the High Court in 2012.
In May, Baker brought on another appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria on the basis of 'fresh and compelling evidence' that it was his co-accused whose actions alone caused the death of Mr Snowball.
On Monday, the case will return to the court where Baker hopes the one man who can clear his name turns up.
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'LM', as he is required to be known under the law, had pleaded not guilty to the crime and was acquitted by a jury.
Baker's mate had offered to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the offer was rejected because Baker refused to do likewise.
Baker's version of events had been supported by three eye witnesses at trial, who claimed he 'wasn’t even near them when it happened'.
The young boxer had in fact been 'down on the next level getting held back by other people', a witness claimed.
The witnesses that supported Baker had all been 'black', with LMs barrister urging the jury to find that ‘the white witnesses’ were ‘witnesses of truth'.
The jury was told the evidence of ‘the black witnesses’ was either ‘dishonest … or evasive.’
WHAT THE MAN WHO CLAIMS HE IS THE REAL KILLER SAYS HAPPENED
Court documents lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria state LM made several interviews with the media between 2018-2019 in which he claimed:
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Mr Snowball hit him on the landing and then he and the deceased ‘got into a scuffle’ approximately 1-1.5 metres from the window
LM ‘pushed him away’ and walked away and ‘at this whole time when this was happening, Baker was not near me’.
LM claimed no-one at the party knew who they were
'Nobody knew us…they say its Baker but how…how do they know who Baker was or who I was’.
Asked who should have gone to jail, LM stated: ‘Not Baker, it should have been me’. Baker wasn’t nowhere near that happened…I’m 100% sure that he was not near Mr Snowball’.
LM was acquitted despite the jury hearing evidence he had told police in a record of interview that he had ‘grabbed’ and ‘pushed’ Mr Snowball prior to him going out the window and ‘assumed’ he went out the window as a result of the push.
Baker's barristers claim there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice - one that cost Baker 13 years of what should have been the best years of his life.
In documents lodged with the Supreme Court of Victoria, Baker's legal team submits LM had admitted both that he had the final physical contact with Mr Snowball and Baker was not involved in or proximate to that final physical contact.
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Since Baker's jailing, LM has provided statements and conducted television interviews with 60 Minutes, The Law Report and The Project admitting he was responsible.
LM had told his friends at the time that it was he who had pushed Mr Snowball through the window.
'‘I pushed (him) back and he accidentally went out the window,' he told a long time friend.
'I looked out the window and saw (him) laying on the ground.'
When Baker went to trial, none of the evidence provided by LM could be put before the jury and he could not be compelled to do so.
Admissions of guilt made by LM prior to the trial were ruled inadmissible, a claim upheld by the High Court. Changes to the Evidence Act means it is likely they would now be admissible.
Baker's legal team argues LM would be compelled to give evidence and Baker's appeal ought be granted in the interests of justice given LM's public admissions.
On Friday, Baker's chances of success took a major hit when he inexplicably sacked his barrister - Ruth Shann SC.
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Ms Shann is renowned as one of the best barristers in the country and was on the legal team for Cardinal George Pell.
The task of clearing Baker's name now falls upon Julie Condon, QC, who is a former County Court of Victoria judge.
Since Baker's release from prison, he has won each of his nine fights - seven by knockout.
Baker had come out of prison in peak condition after following a strict physical regimen that continues on the outside.
Sources say Baker has never used drugs and refuses to have a drink.
Those that know Baker say he has unfinished business after his dreams of representing Australia in the Commonwealth Games was thwarted by his jailing.
Back then, Baker had been in a similar position, having won nine fights straight with his eyes set firmly on success.
'People always put me down when I was young,' Baker told this reporter in 2005.
'They said I'd amount to nothing, and now I'm getting somewhere everyone is scared. They don't want me to go where I want to go.'
Now training with Sydney's Billy Hussein and Melbourne's Peter Hatton, Baker is rumoured to be contemplating a move up into the heavyweight division where he could face-off with former AFL bad boy Barry Hall.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Baker for comment, but he was unable to speak under legal advice until his appeal process has come to its conclusion.
Those close to him say Baker remains as determined to succeed in life as he did as a hungry 18-year old yearning for respect in and out of the ring.
When not training and fighting, Baker has been kept busy on the speaking circuit, where he has been inspiring others with his story.
When not addressing AFL footballers, Baker spends his time talking to young kids who may be experiencing some of the problems he endured growing up.
'He's not going to sit there and be a victim,' Baker's friend told Daily Mail Australia.
'He's going to be a success to his story and let people know that whatever you go through, you can come back and it will make you a better person for it.'
Baker's quest for redemption will hit the Supreme Court again on Monday.
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