Thursday September 5 2013
– Whether champion jockey Danny Nikolic is guilty of assaulting another jockey or a police officer investigating the murder of his father-in-law will be decided today in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Daniel Mario Nikolic, 38, the sole witness in his defence case, told the court he acted in self-defence and denied assaulting the officer yesterday, during the fourth day of a contested hearing expected to take two days.
Nikolic said he defended himself after long-time friend Mark Pegus pushed him into a door in an office at Caulfield Racecourse in January 2011.
He said a scuffle between the two jockeys only lasted a minute and Nikolic denied Pegus’ claims that he was punched in the head at least six times. “I never threw a punch,” Nikolic told the court.
“He pushed me first.”
Pegus allegedly suffered a cut lip and black eye in the scrap.
Nikolic said he was contacted by a police officer about the alleged assault on Pegus and an alleged assault against Pegus’ girlfriend in a nightclub – a matter which will be dealt with by the court at a later date and told to come in for an interview.
Durum the April 2011 interview at St Kilda Police a Station, Nikolic allegedly aggressively pointed at Detective Senior Constable Julio Salerno and dared him to punch him.
Nikolic’s barrister Sandy Robertson previously claimed Detective Salerno a member of the elite Purana Taskforce that investigated Melbourne’s gangland killings and the unsolved murder of racehorse owner Les Samba had been sent down to “wind Danny up”.
Nikolic faces charges of recklessly causing injury, intentionally causing injury and unlawful assault over the alleged incident involving Pegus and unlawful assault of a police officer.
He faces up to five years in jail.
Magistrate Angela Bolger will hand down her decision today.
Nikolic is currently serving a one-year disqualification followed by a one-year suspension, where he can ride track work and attend races, for threatening chief steward a Terry Bailey and his family.
– Emily Portelli