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THE MURDER CASE AGAINST LUCKY GATLLARTEI ENDS IN JAIL TERM
Former boxing champion Lucky Gattellari.
Lucky Gatllartei leaving court. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Former boxing champion Lucky Gattellari, 63, faces a minimum 7½ years behind bars after being sentenced over his role in the 2009 murder of Cremorne wheeler-dealer Michael McGurk.

Gattellari, 63, performed a primary role in the plan to “execute” McGurk and his culpability was of high order, Justice Megan Latham said in sentencing at the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

She sentenced Gattellari to a maximum of 10 years. He will be eligible for parole in April 2018.

"I made the wrong decisions." ... Police arrest Lucky Gattellari in 2010.
Behind bars: Lucky Gattellari, pictured here while being arrested in 2010 Photo: Wolter Peeters

Gattellari’s driver Senad Kaminic, 45, was sentenced to a minimum 2½ years in jail and a maximum of 4½. He will be eligible for parole in November 2017.

Both men had substantial reductions on their sentences in return for agreeing to give evidence against the alleged mastermind, property tycoon Ron Medich, 65.

Justice Latham gave Gattellari a 60 per cent discount on his sentence for past and future assistance in the matters.

Businessman Ron Medich arrives to give evidence at ICAC today over his dealings with Ron Mason of the Wagonga Aboriginal land council<br /> smh news<br /> photos Ben Rushton March 1 2012
Alleged mastermind: Ron Medich. Photo: Ben Rushton

Medich is alleged to have paid $300,000 for the murder of McGurk, telling his then friend Gattellari that McGurk was not only costing him “millions” because of lawsuits, but McGurk was making him the “laughing stock of the eastern suburbs” and “a fool in front of his wife [Odetta]”.

McGurk was “gunned down in cold blood in front of his son”, Justice Latham said.

Justice Latham was not persuaded by Gattellari’s claim not to have received money for the murder.

Sentenced: Senad Kaminic.
Sentenced: Senad Kaminic. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Justice Latham said Medich had invested $15 million in various business enterprises of Gattellari’s.

“One compelling inference to be drawn … is that the offender acted at least in part in the belief that if he did not do Medich’s bidding, he would be cut adrift from Medich’s patronage.”

Justice Latham said that although Gattellari had been of great assistance to police and had proved it with 550 pages of statements, his “moral culpability is of a high order”.

Former boxing champion Lucky Gattellari, centre, 63, faces a minimum 7? years behind bars.
Former boxing champion Lucky Gattellari being led away from court after being sentenced over his role in the 2009 murder of Michael McGurk. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Justice Latham took into account Kaminic would have to spend his time in jail in protective custody. She noted that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after spending time in a Croatian concentration camp in 1993 during the Bosnian/Croation conflict.

Outside the court, Vivian Evans, the solicitor for McGurks’s widow Kimberley, said: “Mrs McGurk and the family are relieved that this stage of the criminal proceedings have been completed and they wish to thank all the NSW detectives and police who have worked so tirelessly on this investigation and continue to do so.”

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Mrs McGurk, who found herself sitting in the same row as members of the Gattellari family, left the court without speaking to the media.

Medich and McGurk had previously been business partners who had a bitter falling out and were each suing the other in various court actions.

According to court documents, Gattellari and Medich lunched at Tuscany restaurant below Medich’s Leichhardt office the day after the murder . Gattellari asked: “Are you happy it is done?” Medich grumbled: “It’s taken long enough.”

Medich and Gattellari were prime suspects and within days of the murder police raided Gattellari’s house in Chipping Norton where they seized a number of guns.

Gattellari complained to the media that he had nothing to do with the killing of McGurk and just because he was a friend of Medich’s the media spotlight had turned upon him.

“Because a man has business dealings with a man, you guys are busting my balls,” complained Gattellari. “I had nothing to do with it,” he said.

But a year later Gattellari was arrested and charged with his role in hiring assassins to murder McGurk, who was shot dead as he was getting out of his Mercedes. His nine-year-old son was in the front seat.

The alleged hitmen were Christopher Estephan, who was only 19 when he and a friend, Haissam Safetli, 46, allegedly drove to the McGurk family home. Both have admitted being there but each suggest the other was responsible for firing the single shot that killed the 45-year-old Scottish-born businessman on the evening of September 3, 2009.

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Following his arrest in October 2010, Gattellari provided extensive information to authorities. Not only did he confess to his role in the McGurk murder, he also told police that his friend and business partner Medich was the mastermind.

During his sentencing hearing in February, this year, Gattellari said: “When we had McGurk followed … [Medich] would go out of his brain. ‘Why isn’t this f—ing guy gone? I want him f—ing dead. He’s ruining my life and my marriage.'”

Gattellari told his sentencing hearing that when people asked him why he had decided to co-operate, he replied: “I should do whatever I can to put some right into the wrong we did.”

Gattellari’s information also prompted two Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiries involving Medich. The commission has already made corrupt findings against the property millionaire over allegations that Medich offered bribes to members of an Aboriginal land council.

The millionaire property developer also featured in a 2011 ICAC inquiry which examined allegations that he had provided the services of a prostitute, Tiffanie, to then NSW resources minister Ian Macdonald in return for introductions to public servants who could advance Medich’s business interests.

Lucky was born Fortunato Gattellari, in Oppido Mamertina, in Calabria in southern Italy in 1950, the youngest of seven sons.

Kaminic, a former Bosnian soldier, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of murder. The Attorney-General Greg Smith offered Kaminic an indemnity against the more serious charge of being accessory before the fact of murder in return to agreeing to give evidence for the Crown against Medich.

Medich, who has pleaded not guilty, will face an eight-week committal hearing in August.
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