A friend of a boxer who spent 13 years in prison for murder has admitted that it was he who pushed the victim before falling through a window to his death.
Melbourne boxer Khalid Baker was on the brink of becoming a national hero in 2005 when he was charged with the murder of Albert Dudley Snowball of Perth.
On Tuesday, his then mate, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the Supreme Court that it was he who pushed Mr Snowball, 22, in the seconds before falling four meters from a window and dying.
The man, only 17 years old at the time, had called “LM” in court and had previously told 60 Minutes that he had been the “last person” to fight Mr. Snowball before going out the window.
LM appeared in court on Tuesday after being forced to do so by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Armed with a certificate freeing him from self-incrimination, LM told the court what Baker had always known.
LM told the court that he had been trying to end an argument between another mate and Mr. Snowball when Mr. Snowball punched him in the face.
Khalid Baker is back in the ring after serving 13 years in prison for a crime another man claims to have committed
Khalid Baker before the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday
Baker and Melbourne television identity Eddie McGuire after Baker was released from prison
“What the hell are you doing,” LM told the court he’d said to Mr. Snowball before pushing him away almost at full throttle.
LM said he had no idea where Baker was during the altercation and he didn’t see Mr. Snowball go out the window.
But when he walked out a little later, he saw him lying on the sidewalk, seriously injured.
Mr Snowball had fallen four feet and died two days later in hospital from head injuries.
LM’s inability to see where Baker was at the time could be critical to the Court of Appeal’s decision.
On May 26, 2008, it was Baker who was convicted of the murder of Mr. Snowball and was sentenced to 17 years in prison with a 12-year unconditional period.
Baker spent 13 years in prison before being released in 2018.
He has since maintained his innocence, unsuccessfully appealing to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2010 and to the Supreme Court in 2012.
In May, Baker appealed again to the Supreme Court of Victoria on the basis of “new and compelling evidence” that it was his co-defendant whose actions alone had caused Mr Snowball’s death.
Baker had hoped that LM would be happy to go to court and admit the crime and clear Baker’s name once and for all.
Baker’s mate had offered to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the offer was turned down by prosecutors at the time because Baker refused to do the same.
LM pleaded not guilty to murder and was acquitted by a jury.
Baker’s version of events was supported by three eyewitnesses at the trial, who claimed he “wasn’t even near them when it happened.”
Khalid Baker with Faruk Orman, who was acquitted of murder and released from prison over the Nicola Gobbo scandal
Baker is determined to clear his name after 13 years behind bars
While LM couldn’t be forced to testify at Baker’s first trial, the Supreme Court ruled he could now.
The court heard that LM could still violate Victoria’s double danger laws if the prosecution believes it has enough evidence to lead another trial.
The law, which once stated that no one should be tried or punished twice for the same offence, was reformed in 2011 and opened the door for new trials to be ordered when there is compelling new evidence that a person previously acquitted of a serious misdemeanor is guilty.
LM was acquitted despite the jury hearing evidence that he told police in an interview report that he “grabbed” and “pushed” Mr Snowball before going out the window and “assuming” he was out the window gone as a result of the push.
Baker’s attorneys claimed 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 filed with the Supreme Court of Victoria, Baker’s legal team allege that LM admitted that he had last physical contact with Mr Snowball and that Baker was not involved in or near that last physical contact.
Since Baker’s prison term, LM had made 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 him who pushed Mr. Snowball through the window.
The man once known as ‘The Smiling Assassin’ is back in the ring after serving 13 years in prison
Khalid Baker is determined to clear his name after serving 13 years in prison for murder
The window where Albert Snowball fell off in 2005
When Baker went to trial, none of the evidence provided by LM could be presented to the jury and he could not be forced to do so.
IOUs made by LM prior to the trial were dismissed as inadmissible, a claim upheld by the High Court.
LM’s evidence was considered crucial by the Supreme Court of Victoria if Baker’s appeal were to be granted.
Prosecutors had opposed Baker’s attempt to take LM to court, alleging that the court did not have the power to compel him to do so.
The court heard that LM had told Baker that he would appear in court voluntarily, but changed his mind a few days before he was due to appear.
On Tuesday, LM claimed he had acted in self-defense.
“Look what you made me do,” he said to his buddy who had started the fight.
“A guy I was on the landing with and I’d just pushed went out the window . . . in an altercation with Mr. Snowball.”
LM told the Supreme Court that he could not recall Baker being near the altercation at the time Snowball was pushed.
“I don’t remember Mr Baker being on the landing,” he said.
“I have no idea where he was.”
The scuffle that sent Mr. Snowball out the window lasted less than a minute, LM said.
Khalid Baker and Allison Langdon today
Baker and former Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg
Khalid Baker is a man on a mission in and out of the ring
Since Baker’s release from prison, he has won each of his nine fights – seven by knockout.
Baker had come out of prison in tip-top shape after following a strict physical regimen that continues on the outside.
Sources say Baker has never taken drugs and refuses to drink anything.
On the night he allegedly committed the murder, he had been the designated driver and had not had a sip of alcohol.
Those who know Baker say he has unfinished business after his dreams of representing Australia in the Commonwealth Games were thwarted by his jail sentence.
Back then, Baker was in a similar position, having won nine fights in a row with his eyes firmly set on success.
“People always put me down when I was young,” Baker told this reporter in 2005.
“They said I wouldn’t mean anything, and now I’m going to a place where everyone is afraid. They don’t want me to go where I want to go.’
Baker now trains with Sydney’s Billy Hussein and Melbourne’s Peter Hatton. It is rumored that Baker is considering making a move to the heavyweight division, where he can take on former AFL bad boy Barry Hall.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Baker for comment, but he was unable to speak under legal advice until his appeals process was completed.
Those close to him say Baker is just as determined to succeed in life as he was a hungry 18-year-old who yearns for respect inside and outside the ring.
When not training and fighting, Baker has been kept busy on the speaking circuit, inspiring others with his story.
When not addressing AFL footballers, Baker spends his time talking to young children who may be experiencing some of the difficulties he endured during his childhood.
“He’s not going to sit there and be a victim,” Baker’s friend told the Daily Mail Australia.
“He’s going to be a success for his story and let people know that whatever you’re going through, you can come back and make it a better person.”
The Court of Appeals must determine whether LM’s evidence provides “convincing new evidence” to clear Baker’s name.