Property developer Ron Medich.
THE jurors in the murder trial of millionaire property developer Ron Medich have said they are unable to reach a unanimous verdict after two weeks of deliberation.
The 68-year-old is charged with organising the contract killing of his former business partner Michael McGurk after the pair became involved in legal disputes worth millions of dollars.
At 2.20pm yesterday Justice Geoffrey Bellew read a note from the jury to the NSW Supreme Court that said: “After two weeks of deliberation we cannot come to a unanimous decision for either of the two charges”.
Justice Bellew then called for the jury to enter the courtroom, where he told them to go back and try again.
Property developer Ron Medich arrives at the NSW Supreme Court yesterday. Picture: AAP
“Experience of the courts is that often juries are able to agree in the end if they are given more time to consider and discuss the evidence,” he said.
He also explained their duty to listen carefully and objectively to the view of their fellow jurors.
“In the light of those directions to you I am going to ask you please to retire and continue your deliberations,” he said. Medich has always maintained his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to McGurk’s murder and subsequent intimidation of his widow Kimberley.
Scottish born wheeler and dealer McGurk, 45, was gunned down in front of his nine-year-old son outside his Cremorne home in September 2009.
During her opening address to the jury Crown prosecutor Gina O’Rourke, SC, outlined four multi-million dollar legal disputes Medich and McGurk were involved in at the time of the murder.
The court heard Medich gawked at the $300,000 it would cost to hire two hitmen. Picture: Bob Barker
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“The accumulative effect of these disputes, the damage to his reputation and the embarrassment the accused felt (led to) a strong desire within the accused to have the deceased permanently removed from his life,” Ms O’Rourke told the NSW Supreme Court.
During the two-month trial the jury heard from star Crown witness Lucky “Fortunato” Gattellari, who gave evidence of how Medich approached him and asked him to organise the murder.
The one-time boxer and former Qantas steward was given a 60 per cent discount on his sentence after pleading guilty to the murder, in exchange for co-operating with police and giving evidence at Medich’s trial. Gattellari explained how Medich was “humiliated” about being the “laughing stock of the eastern suburbs” and was “raving” about the cost of the legal disputes he was embroiled in with McGurk.
The court heard Medich gawked at the $300,000 it would cost to hire two hitmen. Picture: Bob Barker.
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“I wish I had never met the man, he’s ruining my life,” he allegedly exclaimed in late 2008.
But the court heard Medich gawked at the $300,000 it would cost to hire two hitmen.
But Medich’s defence barrister Winston Terracini, SC, argued there was no evidence of any payments Medich had made to finance the murder and told the jury they could not trust a word spoken by Gattellari whose “tongue is dripping with lies”.
He trashed the credibility of the “wicked” and “evil” Gattellari pointing out police had charged him with trying to extort $15 million from Medich in return for changing his evidence.
Gattellari, Estephan, Safetli and Kaminic have all pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the murder.