Splashes hit: police close in on killers

The scene of the 2007 shooting.
The scene of the 2007 shooting.

Police are closing in on several people believed to be involved with Wollongong's infamous 2007 Splashes nightclub shooting, a court has heard.

In coming weeks, detectives are set to interview several "persons of interest" allegedly connected to the deadly hit. They intend to wrap up all questioning by the end of the month.

The latest developments were revealed yesterday as Zlatan Popovic, the man accused of directing the alleged contract killing, appeared via audio-visual link in Wollongong Local Court.

The Tarrawanna man was refused bail in September after he was charged with Dragan Sekuljica's murder, nearly five years after the father-of-two was shot outside the former North Wollongong club.

During Popovic's bail application, the court was told the 40-year-old was just one of several people involved in the killing and further arrests were imminent.

Since then, no-one else had been charged.

Logistical problems had prevented police from interviewing several other potential co-offenders, the court heard yesterday.

Mr Sekuljica was shot by a masked gunman just before 3am on September 8, 2007.

He ran back into the Cliff Road nightclub but collapsed as the shooter fired a further three shots, including a fatal bullet to his head.

Mr Sekuljica died at the scene. A 44-year-old security guard was shot and injured.

Police claim Popovic planned the hit and made cash payments to the gunman just days after the shooting.

He now faces an additional charge of shooting with intent to murder.

Crown solicitor Paul Stanley yesterday requested that the brief of evidence in the matter not be released until the latest interviews were completed.

He told the court the brief contained "sensitive material", which risked being contaminated if it was divulged.

Popovic's barrister, Archie Hallas, opposed the application, arguing that concerns about his client knowing the identity of other possible co-accused could be simply solved by "blacking out" their names in the brief.

Mr Stanley said it was not the names that were sensitive but the information provided.

The prosecution ultimately served some of the brief yesterday and was ordered to hand over the rest of the material by November 29.

Magistrate Michael Stoddart adjourned the matter to December 19.

Mr Hallas flagged that Popovic could make a fresh application for bail on his next court appearance.