Hate Crime Trial Postponed, Defense Reviewing Battery Charge Against State's Key Witness
Attorneys defending Mohammad Shaban, of Hickory Hills, and Akram Alshoweat, of Oak Lawn against hate crime and robbery charges want time to review felony battery of a police officer charges against the prosecution's key witness.
The trial of Mohammed Shaban, of Hickory Hills, and Akram Alshoweat, of Oak Lawn, on hate crime and robbery charges was postponed Tuesday, July 24, the day the trial was set to begin.
Hickory Hills police said Shaban of Hickory Hills and Alshoweat of Oak Lawn, battered and robbed a woman they believed to be a lesbian on June 28, 2010, outside a restaurant.
Michael Monaco, attorney for Alshoweat and Gregg Smith, Shaban's attorney, were granted a continuance by Judge Colleen Ann Hyland to give them time to review a felony aggravated battery of a police officer charge against the prosecution's key witness. That case is also before Hyland, the attorneys pointed out and there is a separate battery case before another judge.
John Mitsis was not only a witness to the June 28 incident, Smith told Patch after Tuesday's hearing, but "part of the melee. He was an active participant."
Because Alshoweat and Shaban are claiming self defense in the attack, the attorney said their next move is to file a motion asking that the facts surrounding Mitsis' case be allowed to be presented to the jury, as evidence of Mitsis' character.
"We're going to secure a motion for a hearing to see if we're able to present the information to a jury," Smith explained.
Prosecutors said they were made aware of Mitsis' case but disagree that any information presented would be admissible.
The two defendants rejected a plea deal in March.
The defense attorneys are expected to file the motion asking that the information be admissible in the coming weeks; Hyland will issue her ruling on Aug. 21.