Prisoner Lucky Gattellari demanded up to $50 million from his former friend Ron Medich in relation to what evidence he would give at Medich’s murder prosecution, a Sydney jury has been told.
Gattellari, 68, has pleaded not guilty in the NSW District Court to two counts of conspiracy to defraud, involving plots in 2013 and 2014 to demand money from Medich, who had been arrested for the 2009 murder of businessman Michael McGurk.
Gattellari’s one-time cellmate, Shayne Hatfield, 53, and Hatfield’s former partner, Linda Monfrooy, 55, have denied being part of the 2014 plot.
Opening the Crown case on Thursday, prosecutor Darren Robinson said the evidence would disclose “a continuing objective” by Gattellari to obtain money through approaches to Medich’s family regarding evidence he would give in Medich’s prosecution for murder.
He referred to two documents given to Medich’s brother on May 12 in 2014.
One “referred to a history of demands, including the initial request for $1 million, a subsequent request for $10 million, which then went to $15 million, and a present demand for $30 million, which would go to $50 million after the 15th of May”.
Mr Robinson said the 2013 approach involved Gattellari, his brother Frank and Robert McCarthy, who had been in jail with Gattellari but was released in May 2013.
Lucky Gattellari allegedly told McCarthy: “I’ll ask him to pay some money and let him believe that I’ll help him at court … but I’ll never help him at court.”
The 2014 approach allegedly involved the Gattellari brothers, Hatfield and Monfrooy, using Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson – who were both later arrested for murder – and Joseph Prestia.
Mr Robinson said Lucky Gattellari was charged over Mr McGurk’s murder in October 2010 and was told by his QC that he could expect legal costs to be $1 million.
Ron Medich’s son, Peter, gave evidence on Thursday saying Gattellari’s son approached him asking for $1 million to be put into the trust account of Gattellari’s lawyers.
If the money was not put in the account Gattellari “was rolling my father and would say he was involved in the crime”, Peter Medich said.
After the money was not paid, Mr Medich said he met with Robert McCarthy who told him his father was “in a lot of trouble” and would go to jail unless he moved forward with what was written in a note he handed him.
The note said: “The evidence against you is not worth a cracker without my testimony.”
“You should have paid the $1 million when I asked you and you would not be in this mess … I would never have involved you.”
The note went on to say that Ron Medich was required to pay $10 million and the author would “throw his testimony against my father at trial”.
The trial continues before Judge Penelope Hock.