Millionaire Medich loses murder appeal

·3-min read

Sydney millionaire Ron Medich can now expect to die in jail after losing his appeal against his convictions for murdering a business enemy and intimidating his widow.

The property developer was jailed in the NSW Supreme Court in June 2018 for 39 years with a non-parole period of 30 years.

The now-72-year-old was found guilty of the contract murder of his business foe Michael McGurk, who was shot dead outside his Sydney home in September 2009, and the intimidation of Kimberley McGurk almost a year later.

The sentencing judge was satisfied Medich paid about $500,000 for the hit and $100,00 for the intimidation with the purpose of getting Ms McGurk to settle her late husband's litigation.

The jury accepted key evidence by his former confidant Lucky Gattellari that Medich masterminded and financed the shooting of the 45-year-old businessman.

In a majority decision on Thursday, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed Medich's challenges to his convictions.

Justice Peter Hamill disagreed with Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and Justice Clifton Hoeben, saying he would allow the appeal, quash the convictions and order a retrial.

Mr McGurk was gunned down after he and Medich had become embroiled in ongoing and protracted legal battles involving millions of dollars.

Medich's lawyers argued a number of appeal grounds including that Gattellari was a "liar of a very bad kind" who gave contradictory and wholly inadequate evidence.

Justice Hamill agreed with the other two judges that it was not unreasonable for the jury to have found Medich guilty of the two charges.

He noted the evidence of Gattellari was "dubious and unimpressive" and riddled with problems and the prosecution case depended on it to a very large extent.

"However, it was not the only evidence capable of implicating the applicant in the murder of Michael McGurk.

"There was powerful evidence of the applicant's motive, and some of the conversations with other witnesses suggested he was involved in the killing of McGurk and the intimidation of his widow. "

But Justice Hamill said he could not conclude "that the combination of errors that impacted on the fairness of the applicant's trial did not result in a substantial miscarriage of justice".

The court agreed that some of the evidence of Gattellari's driver Senad Kaminic was inadmissible, but the Chief Justice said this did not amount to a substantial miscarriage of justice.

The sentencing judge Justice Geoffrey Bellew said the murder demonstrated "objective criminality and moral culpability of the highest order" while the intimidation had been "breathtakingly callous".

"Directing and financing the killing of another human being is a fundamentally abhorrent and heinous crime.

"The offender treated the life of Mr McGurk as being of no value at all, and something of which he would simply dispose when he thought it was in his way."

Gattellari testified that Medich said he had been made a "laughing stock in the eastern suburbs", that Mr McGurk was ruining his reputation, and he wanted Gattellari to find someone "to take care of this guy".

Gattellari said he asked Medich if he was sure about the murder, saying "there's no going back", and he replied: "I am sure. I want him done."

After the hit occurred, Gattellari asked Medich: "Are you happy now, it's all finished?"

"Well, it's taken f***ing long enough for it to happen" the millionaire replied.

His earliest release date will be in February 2048, two months before he turns 100.