Nikolovski walks free after murder charge dropped

Prosecutors have dropped murder-related charges against three men accused of organising the 2012 shooting death of Berkeley man Darko Janceski.

The Director of Public Prosecutions on Wednesday formally withdrew a solicit to murder charge against Cordeaux Heights man Robert Nikolovski, and charges of being an accessory before the fact and participating in a criminal group against Christopher Madden and Derek Scott Ferguson, both from Horsley.

A fourth man, Matthew Paul Wiggins, is still facing a charge of murder and remains in custody.

In a statement to the Mercury, Mr Nikolovski said he was incredibly relieved the matter was now behind him.

‘‘Even though I always knew in my heart I was innocent and that my name would one day be cleared, the stress and hardship caused by the charge and being in jail for so long took a toll on me and my family,’’ Mr Nikolovski said, referring to the nine months he was in jail after being refused bail  earlier this year.

Charges dropped: Derek Ferguson.

“After months of hell, being locked up in prison for something I didn’t do, I don’t have the words to express how relieved I am to finally be free of these charges.’’

Mr Nikolovski was arrested in January this year after police claimed to have established a link between Mr Nikolovski and the shooting death of Mr Janceski in April 2012.

Mr Janceski was gunned down outside his parents’ Gannet Avenue home by a man on a motorbike, five months after Mr Nikolovski’s younger brother, Goran, disappeared in suspicious circumstances.

At the time, prosecutors alleged Mr Janceski’s death had been orchestrated as payback for the suspected murder of Goran.

However, police failed to mount a sufficient case against Mr Nikolovski, Madden or Ferguson, resulting in the dismissal of murder-related charges against the trio.

Mr Nikolovski’s lawyer Aaron Kernaghan said the withdrawal of the charge against his client demonstrated the integrity of the NSW justice system.

‘‘The case against my client was fundamentally flawed,’’ he said.

‘‘The entirety of the evidence gathered by NSW Police has been examined and revealed as inadequate.

‘‘The DPP has exercised great independence and professionalism in reviewing the case and finding that, notwithstanding the seriousness of the charge, there is insufficient evidence upon which to substantiate that charge.’’

Mr Nikolovski said his attention would now turn to supporting his parents and the family hoped for the safe return of his brother Goran.

‘‘Now I can be home and be there for my mum and dad who have had both their sons taken from them this last year,’’ he said.

Madden and Ferguson still have outstanding charges before the court. They were released on conditional bail to reappear in court at a later date.

Robert Nikolovski (middle) leaves court with his mother Olga Nikolovski and lawyer Aaron Kernaghan.

Robert Nikolovski (middle) leaves court with his mother Olga Nikolovski and lawyer Aaron Kernaghan.