Property tycoon Ron Medich is attempting to suppress evidence of a number of witnesses in his committal hearing for the shooting murder of businessman Michael McGurk.
Medich, dressed in a navy suit and pink and blue striped tie, appeared calm as the hearing began at Central Local Court on Tuesday.
His co-accused, 23-year-old Christopher Estephan, sat in the dock wearing a grey suit.
Estephan’s mother was in the gallery.
During the first day of the hearing – in which no evidence was called – Medich’s barrister Winston Terracini SC made an application for an interim non-publication order on the evidence of a number of “civilian witnesses” and that of co-offenders Lucky Gattellari, Haissam Safetli and Senad Kaminic.
Mr Terracini said there had been an enormous amount of publicity surrounding the case and “some factual and other reporting nonsense”.
“We don’t want reporting on these matters before the primary witness (Gattellari) gets into the witness box,” he said.
Once the trio have given evidence, Mr Terracini said the order could be lifted and “the media can publish anything they see fit”.
Magistrate Jan Stevenson said she was reluctant to grant the non-publication order in the interests of justice and because of the amount of material already in the public domain.
It would mean no evidence could be reported for at least the first two to three weeks of the hearing, now set down for four to six weeks.
The hearing will decide whether the pair should stand trial for the murder of Mr McGurk, who was shot outside his Cremorne home in 2009.
The crown alleges 65-year-old Medich enlisted the help of one-time boxing champion Gattellari to carry out the contract killing on Mr McGurk after their business relationship began deteriorating in late 2008 and they became embroiled in several legal disputes.
Gattellari then allegedly recruited Kaminic, Safetli and Estephan to assist in the hit.
Safetli, who has pleaded guilty to murdering Mr McGurk, alleges he and Estephan went to the businessman’s home on September 3, 2009.
Upon seeing Mr McGurk drive home, he alleges the then 19-year-old Estephan grabbed a modified rifle, walked up to the businessman’s Mercedes and shot him at close range.
But Estephan alleges he thought they were going for a drive and it was the 47-year-old who fired the gun.
Ms Stevenson adjourned the matter until August 13, when media outlets are set to challenge the application.
Of the five men charged in relation to the killing, only Estephan and Medich are facing committal.
Gattellari and Kaminic were sentenced earlier this year for their part in the murder, while Safetli is due to be sentenced this week.