Bikie jailed over botched drug-deal killing
BANDIDOS bikie Bogdan Cuic has been sentenced to more than nine years' jail for the manslaughter of Jei "Jack" Lee.
Mr Lee was shot in the head when a cocaine deal went wrong outside a suburban shopping centre in Brisbane's south more than six years ago.
Cuic and bikie associate Marko Cokara pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the 22-year-old man in Brisbane Supreme Court on the morning their murder trial was expected to begin last month.
Cuic was today sentenced to nine-and-a-half years' jail over Mr Lee's shooting death at an Eight Mile Plains shopping centre on April 12, 2012.
He will be eligible for parole in 2020.
Cokara was sentenced to eight years' jail and will be eligible for parole in 2019.
The court heard Cuic had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis he had arrived at a drug deal with a loaded fire arm and it accidentally discharged during a struggle.
The man made headlines in 2016 after he was extradited from Serbia to Brisbane and charged with Mr Lee's murder.
It was one of the first times police had brought a suspect to Australia from an Eastern European country to face criminal prosecution, said investigating officer Detective Sergeant Denis Silk outside court today.
Cuic was found hiding in a tree when detectives arrived to arrest him in Serbia, The Courier-Mail understands.
Cokara and a third man arranged to meet with Mr Lee in the Warrigal Shopping Centre carpark on the day he was killed.
Cokara wanted to buy $21,000 worth of cocaine from Mr Lee, who had arranged to purchase the drugs from the third man and on-sell them to Cokara and Cuic for a profit.
The court heard a struggle ensued between Mr Lee and Cuic and the gun was discharged when the exchange of the bag of cocaine was meant to take place.
Cokara was sentenced to jail on the basis he knew Cuic had the gun.
Cuic left Australia in the hours after Mr Lee was killed, travelling to Thailand before flying to Serbia.
He and Cokara also dumped a BMW they had driven to the deal and told the owner of the vehicle to report it stolen to police, who did, the day after the killing.
Justice Martin Burns said during sentencing on Wednesday: "Cuic brought a loaded fire arm to a drug deal and formed the intention during that deal to rob (Mr Lee)".
"A struggle ensued to which the fire arm discharged," he said.
Justice Burns said he accepted Cuic "did not deliberately pull the trigger" and had not intended to kill Mr Lee.
"This is a very strong example of criminal negligence," he said.
"You took a loaded firearm to a drug deal... you did not know the dealer or the supplier. Tensions were (bound) to be very high... it had a real potential to go awry and of course, it tragically did.
"It is very concerning that you fled the scene without a second thought for the young man you had just shot in the head. It would, perhaps, have been open to you to call triple-0 as you fled the scene... but instead you started making calls to cover your tracks... this was a callous act."