The four men accused of planning and carrying out the 2007 Splashes nightclub shooting have been found guilty.
Dalibor Bubanja, Jason Hristovski, and two other men, who can only be referred to as ‘‘C’’ and ‘‘M’’ for legal reasons, were found guilty on Thursday of murdering Dragan Sekuljica outside the Cliff Road club on September 8, 2007.
The Sydney Supreme Court jury returned the guilty verdict late Thursday afternoon after a lengthy trial.
On Friday morning the four men were found not guilty of a second count of shooting with intent to murder. The second charge related to the shooting of a security guard at the nightclub
On the charge of murdering Mr Sekuljica, jurors rejected suggestions by the four men’s lawyers that their clients were innocent of murder, instead accepting the Crown case that the group was responsible for gunning Mr Sekuljica down inside the popular Wollongong nightclub after he and the Bubanja family, formerly close friends and work associates, had a falling out over an alleged debt owed to the dead man by the Bubanjas.
Mr Sekuljica's wife, Snezanna, gave evidence of the feud during the trial, telling the court her husband had not been paid for carpentry work he did on a block of units in Figtree for the Bubanja family.
She said she recalled an incident at the end of May 2006 when Dalibor, his brother and his father came to the foyer of their Corrimal Street unit block wanting to talk to Mr Sekuljica, at a time when they were no longer friends.
Mrs Sekuljica said both she and her husband could see the trio and hear what they were saying through the intercom, which had a camera attached to it.
She told the court that the Bubanjas repeatedly asked her husband to go outside to meet them during the conversation, which she estimated to have been about two minutes long. She said he didn't go outside to meet them, and also turned his mobile phone off after speaking to them.
Jurors also heard from Justin Irwin, the getaway driver turned star witness, who received immunity from prosecution for his role in the killing in exchange for his testimony.
Mr Irwin spoke of several conversations involving himself and the four offenders relating to their anger towards Mr Sekuljica, who they believed had been "speaking to police".
He then outlined the events that took place that night, telling the court he drove M to Hristovski's house to pick up a gun before heading to his own house to deck M out in black clothing.
The pair then drove to the nightclub, Mr Irwin parked in the car park opposite North Beach and M left the car, heading towards some trees and bush nearby that Mr Irwin had pointed out earlier.
Mr Irwin estimated waiting in the car for around 90 minutes before he heard gunshots ring out.
He then started the car and moments later M ran towards him, got in the car and the pair drove off, with Mr Irwin returning M to an address in Mascot.
Mr Irwin said M made certain admissions about the shooting to him during the drive.
The following day Mr Irwin picked up an amount of money from C and delivered it to M