Final speech, Lady of justice, gavel and books on wood
Final speech, Lady of justice, gavel and books on wood

Defence outlines alternative case in murder trial

THE Crown case against a man on trial for the murder of Grafton jail inmate Ian Klum has not reached the standard required for a guilty verdict, according to the defence barrister.

The Supreme Court trial of Shane Leslie Johnson, charged with the murder of Mr Klum in 2010, continued yesterday in Grafton Court House.

The defence’s closing address continued throughout the day, with barrister Mr Watts attacking all aspects of the Crown case.

He said the interpretation of the evidence the Crown relied on was not the only “rational or reasonable” explanation of the evidence, and therefore did not reach the heights needed for a guilty verdict.

He said much of the evidence presented supported his client’s version of events.

Mr Watts began the day recalling evidence from jail inmates in cells neighbouring cell 219 which housed Mr Klum and Mr Johnson.

He said the evidence from inmate Prahladananda Worland, who said he heard a person he believed to be Mr Johnson say the words “take it like a dildo”, was not reliable.

He contrasted his testimony with that of another inmate who said Five Wing of the jail was like an echo chamber, making it hard to say exactly where a particular voice may emanate from.

He said that other inmates roused by the sounds of the disturbance in cell 219 were shouting out crude suggestions which other witnesses said came from cells further away.

Mr Watts said the jury should allow Mr Johnson to claim self-defence.

He said the actions of Mr Klum in scratching at the head and face of his client would naturally provoke the response Mr Johnson described of a solid shove to the chest which propelled Mr Klum backward.

Later he switched to the evidence of expert witnesses Clayton Walton and Prof Johann Duflous.

He said he agreed with the evidence of both men, but said they had both admitted that their findings could be taken in ways that supported his client.

Throughout his address, Mr Watts maintained a theme of finding alternative, reasonable interpretations of the evidence, which he said cast doubt on the Crown case.

He will conclude his address today. Justice Geoffrey Bellew should begin instructing the jury after that.

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