Murder accused said he didn't intend to kill his mate

A SUPREME Court jury in Grafton must decide if the brutal death of a man at the hands of a friend near Baryulgil in 2013 is murder or manslaughter.

Donald Neil Gordon has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Danial Cotter at Collum Collum Station, on November 6 or 7, 2013. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but that plea was not accepted.

After the jury of six men and six women was empanelled on Thursday the Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell told them how he would prove Gordon had intended to kill or cause serious injury to his victim.

He said the evidence could be broken down to five broad categories, which allegedly showed that Gordon had run over his victim, then hit him with a 21kg rock he found nearby, to kill him.

He alleged Gordon then had moved Cotter's body off the road and put it in a ditch so it was hidden from the ambulance when it arrived.

The first part was background to the case, which involved a night of heavy drinking firstly in Baryulgil and then at Collum Collum Station involving the deceased and the accused, the accused's cousin Anthony Gordon and station manager Andrew Donnelly.

The second category was things the accused allegedly said about the events around the death of his friend.

Thirdly Mr Campbell argued the evidence of the cause of the injury that killed Mr Cotter, a transverse fracture at the base of his skull, could only have been caused by the large rock covered in the victim's blood and hair.

He said the fourth category was examination of the crime scene and the rock allegedly used as a weapon to attack Mr Cotter.

The fifth category was the result of forensic testing of the rock, the car and the accused's clothing which showed the blood of the victim and his DNA were present.

Defence barrister Jason Watts said his client did not dispute he had caused Gordon's death, but the case did not amount to murder.

He said there were nuances in the evidence of the people involved which showed Gordon had killed his client with negligent driving.

He said forensic analysis from Professor Joe Duflou would show the fatal injury to Mr Cotter could have been caused by a car driving over him.

He also said the DNA evidence presented could be questioned and may not be accurate.

The trial continues in Grafton today with crime scene investigator Sen Const Sue Vercoe in the witness box.


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