BORCE RISTEVSKI FILE
Borce Ristevski will stand trial in the Supreme Court charged with murdering his wife Karen in the couple's Melbourne home.
Ristevski, 54, allegedly killed his dress shop-owner wife, 47, at their Avondale Heights home on June 29, 2016 before dumping her body in bushland.
After a high-profile committal hearing, magistrate Suzanne Cameron decided on Thursday there was enough evidence to send Ristevski to trial charged with murder.
"It would be open for a jury properly instructed to be satisfied that the accused caused the death of Karen Ristevski and at the time had a murderous intent," she told Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Ristevski appeared to show little emotion as the decision was made.
He formally pleaded not guilty to the murder charge after the decision and will stand trial in the Supreme Court.
When his wife vanished, Ristevski told police she had gone for a walk to clear her mind and never returned.
Ms Ristevski's skeletal remains were found eight months later in Macedon Regional Park by two horticulturalists who had noticed a strange smell.
An autopsy could not ascertain her cause of death.
Ristevski, who was a pallbearer at his wife's funeral, was charged with murder after an investigation that involved listening devices and CCTV footage analysis.
It's alleged he took Ms Ristevski's Mercedes-Benz roadster to dispose of the body in bushland, killing the signal of his and her mobile phones on the way.
He then allegedly dumped his wife's body between two logs and concealed it with branches before returning home.
Ristevski's lawyers had argued the murder charge should be abandoned and sought a committal on the lesser charge of manslaughter because no jury could find there was murderous intent.
But prosecutors pushed hard for a murder trial, saying Ristevski's deceitful behaviours after the killing gave rise to the required intent.
They said the way he concealed the body and lied to family and police were not the actions of a man who accidentally killed his wife.
The magistrate said the evidence was largely "circumstantial" but taken at its highest the case was strong enough for a jury to be able to convict on murder.
"The prosecution rely on a significant number of actions, utterances and omissions by the accused," Ms Cameron said.
"These include amongst other things the concealment of her death, the disposal of her body, the deactivation of mobile phones."
Dozens of witnesses gave evidence during the committal hearing, including doctors, civilians, family members and a Mercedes-Benz expert.
In her emotional testimony, the couple's daughter Sarah Ristevski said her father was never aggressive towards her mother.
A local Mount Macedon woman said she saw a black Mercedes sports car "almost hesitate" at a quiet intersection not far from where Karen Ristevski's body was found.
The family's troubled financial situation was aired with details of Ms Ristevski's fashion store Bella Bleu being unable to cover its expenses.
The Ristevskis had allegedly argued over money before the killing.
Ristevski will face a directions hearing in the Supreme Court on August 6.