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Ron Medich trial: Witness grilled over murder payments

Senad Kaminic alleges he picked up $150,000 from Ron Medich’s home as a payment for Michael McGurk’s murder. Photo: Daniel Munoz Property developer Ron Medich has pleaded not guilty to murder. Photo: Daniel Munoz

Wearing a white polo shirt in the witness box, Senad Kaminic spoke of a time when he would wear all black, pick up cash in bags and discuss murder methods in pubs.

It was 2009. Kaminic, once a Bosnian soldier, worked as a personal driver and debt collector for the former boxer Lucky Gattellari, dropping him off at restaurants and massage parlours, demanding people “pay up debt”.

Then he took on another type of job: ferrying money to a hit-man for the murder of Sydney businessman Michael McGurk.

And according to Kaminic, the ultimate source of that money was Ron Medich, the property developer fighting Mr McGurk for millions of dollars in court.

Kaminic, 49, was questioned extensively in the NSW Supreme Court this week as the second Crown witness to allege it was Mr Medich who wanted Mr McGurk dead and his widow Kimberley scared.

The defence team for Mr Medich, who has pleaded not guilty, argue it was in fact Gattellari who hatched the contract-killing plan to keep secret a series of thefts totalling millions of dollars.

Too ill to testify on Friday, Kaminic appeared briefly before being excused.

He was free to return home, having served a reduced 2½-year sentence for acting as an accessory to murder after the fact, and indemnified against other charges in exchange for his testimony.

But on Monday he faces further cross-examination on details of the murder plot by Mr Medich’s barrister Winston Terracini, SC.

So far, money has been a central theme of the questioning.

Gattellari has told the court Kaminic was with him at the Medich home when Mr Medich handed him Cryovac bags of cash containing $250,000 on two separate occasions.

“I think I’m pretty definite he was there,” Gattellari told the jury under cross-examination.

On Kaminic’s account, he picked up a final payment for the murder in the form of a $250,000 cheque from Mr Medich’s office in September 2009.

“I can’t remember seeing Mr Medich but I got the cheque from his receptionist,” he said. The court heard he amended a police statement after giving evidence in an earlier hearing to say he then deposited the cheque.

Kaminic also recalled a day when, at Gattellari’s request, he picked up Mr Medich from his Point Piper home to drive him to the airport. Mr Medich handed him a bag, saying: ‘Here’s 150,000’, Kaminic told the court.

“Gattellari never told you it had anything to do with the murder,” Mr Terracini put to the witness.

“Not true,” Kaminic replied. “He told me it was for the murder.”

Kaminic said in total he was given $150,000 to pass on to one of the eventual hit-men, Haissam Safetli, while Gattellari put the figure at $450,000.

The court has heard that before the murder, the hit-man Safetli held up a newspaper article with a picture of Mr McGurk, saying “this man is causing you a lot of trouble”, and even offered to kill him for free.

“You didn’t think he was a strange person when he was saying he would do the murder for nothing?” Mr Terracini asked Kaminic.

Kaminic said it was “nothing to do with me”.

On September 3, 2009, Safetli was one of two men who shot Mr McGurk in the back of the head in front of his Cremorne home.

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