The estranged older brother of Lucky Gattellari has been spared jail for his role in a plot to demand millions of dollars from the now-convicted Sydney murderer Ron Medich.
Frank Gattellari, who turns 74 on Monday, offended out of “understandable loyalty” to his brother and a misguided attempt to help him, Judge Penelope Hock said on Friday.
She sentenced the retired electrician to one year and nine months in jail, to be served in the community by way of an intensive corrections order with conditions including abstaining from illegal drugs.
Gattellari pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to one count of conspiracy to defraud, involving a 2013 plot to demand money from Medich, who had been arrested for the 2009 murder of businessman Michael McGurk.
His younger brother and former Medich confidant has already served his time for the 2013 plot as well as a 2014 similar plot for organising Mr McGurk’s execution-style murder.
“While family loyalty seems to have been the motivating factor, (Frank Gattellari) frankly admitted that if his brother had received the money, he was hoping the $300,000 owed to his business would be repaid,” the judge said.
“It seems unfortunately he is now estranged from his brother Lucky.”
After Lucky Gattellari’s arrest over Mr McGurk’s murder, he asked Medich for $1 million for his anticipated legal fees, but the request was refused and he remained in custody on remand.
He went on to plead guilty to organising the murder and was to be the star crown witness at Medich’s trial, telling police the businessman masterminded and financed the shooting.
The two plots, only one of which involved his older brother, related to continued attempts to obtain millions of dollars from the wealthy property tycoon Medich.
Approaches were made to Medich’s family, regarding evidence Lucky Gattellari would give as a crown witness in Medich’s murder prosecution.
Frank Gattellari spoke on the phone and visited his brother in jail a number of times and was given instructions by him on how to advance the plot with other conspirators.
The absence of any prior convictions entitled him to some leniency, the judge said.
But his long history of illegal drug use meant he could not be regarded as a person of good character.
He used amphetamines in his 30s, cocaine in his 50s and since he was 65 methamphetamine, which he ceased using in July.
He had serious physical and mental health issues and was extremely unlikely to reoffend, the judge said.
Medich is serving a minimum 30-year jail term after the jury accepted Lucky Gattellari’s evidence.