The alleged murder of a gangland lawyer was over a debt rather than his underworld connections, a Melbourne magistrate says.
Vincenzo Crupi, 70, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday - dressed in a black suit and spectacles - charged with murdering Joe Acquaro on March 15, 2016.
The 54-year-old was shot dead as he walked to his car after closing his Gelobar cafe on Lygon Street, and his body was later found by a rubbish truck driver.
Mr Acquaro is among eight members of Melbourne's legal sector - alongside "Lawyer X" Nicola Gobbo - reported to have supplied information to police as informers, and currently the subject of a royal commission.
He had represented a number of high-profile gangland figures in Melbourne.
Court documents obtained in 2016 showed detectives believed there was a $200,000 contract on Mr Acquaro's life.
His death was investigated by police's Purana taskforce, which was set up in 2003 in response to Melbourne's underworld war, with Reservoir man Crupi arrested after a lengthy investigation.
Lawyers for Crupi previously requested access to the royal commission documents - a call that is expected to be answered in the coming weeks.
Magistrate Suzanne Cameron said she appreciated there were "added complexities" in the case regarding the royal commission, and that the materials may provide Crupi's lawyers with an alternative suspect or motive.
But she said outside the royal commission materials, the alleged murder was "a fairly straightforward case".
"This is a case where the police say someone was murdered over a debt," she said.
Ms Cameron questioned what that had to do with the gangland war, adding the debts seemed to centre on a pre-existing relationship, "work done", "renovations" and "fallout about financial matters".
An eight-day contested committal hearing, which will determine if Crupi stands trial for murder, was scheduled for November 11.
Crupi's lawyers will potentially cross-examine 16 witnesses.