NATIONAL: Ron Medich paid $100,000 to have someone visit the widow of murdered Sydney businessman Michael McGurk and pressure her into paying out her late husband’s debts, court papers show.
The property baron, who is accused of murdering Mr McGurk, was initially reluctant to have someone visit Kimberley McGurk at her Cremorne home on Sydney’s lower north shore.
But prosecution facts say Medich “became increasingly frustrated” that McGurk’s September 2009 shooting death hadn’t resolved his financial and legal disputes with the McGurk estate, which were costing him “a substantial amount of money”.
Medich is alleged to have made a complaint to former boxing champion Lucky Gattellari.
In turn, Gattellari asked his personal assistant Senad Kaminic to arrange a visit by his friend Haissam Safetli to Mrs McGurk’s house on Cranbrook Avenue.
Safetli wanted $100,000 to carry out the visit, leading Gattellari to approach Medich for the money, the prosecution facts said.
Around July 30, 2010, Medich handed Gattellari a shopping bag containing bundles of cash amounting to $100,000.
Gattellari and Medich left Australia on August 6, 2010 “to ensure they were absent when the message was delivered”, the papers state.
Two days later, at 7.30pm, a “police registered source” put on a wig and approached Mrs McGurk as she was packing boxes at home, telling her to “pay her husband’s debts”.
Safetli’s defence solicitor, Philip Stewart, told Central Local Court on Thursday his client, who appeared via video link, would decline to enter a plea to his murder charge, frustrating magistrate Clare Farnan.
“I’m concerned about this,” Ms Farnan said.
“This is exactly the position we were in four weeks ago.”
Kaminic, 44, pleaded guilty on Thursday, through his defence lawyer Ross Hudson, to being an accessory after the fact to the murder, up until his arrest in October 2010.
His bail was continued.
Christopher Chafic Estephan, who was 19 when Mr McGurk was shot dead, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to murder through his defence lawyer Michael Wang.
He was allegedly with Safetli on the night of September 3, 2009 when McGurk was shot dead on his driveway.
The prosecution papers also say Gattellari had pressured Kaminic to convince Safetli to take the wrap for McGurk’s murder so Gattellari and Medich could avoid jail.
Under that plan, the other men charged with murder would fund Safetli’s legal defence and ensure his family were financially looked after.
The court papers said Kaminic secreted and returned Gattellari’s gun to Safetli in an attempt to “remove a link of association” between Gattellari and Safetli.
Safetli’s case was adjourned until September 27, by which time he will have to enter a plea or face a committal hearing.
Estephan’s case was also adjourned to the same day.
Kaminic’s matter was adjourned until October 5 for an arraignment in the Supreme Court.
Gattellari pleaded guilty in July 2012 to being an accessory before the fact to murder, a charge which attracts a potential life sentence.