'Heavily blood-stained’ rock at centre of murder trial

"EVEN to the trained eye, not everything that looks like blood, is blood."

This is what Supreme Court judge Justice Stephen Campbell asked the jury to remember yesterday afternoon as he made a decision to keep an anecdotal and truncated note referring to the state of alleged murder weapon in evidence on day two of the murder trial of Donald Neil Gordon at the Grafton Court House.

The note in question, written by crime scene investigator and witness-in-chief Senior Constable Aleisha Vercoe, was documented in a series of tendered photographs of a 21kg rock which the crown alleges was used to murder Danial Cotter in November 2013.

The defence objected to the term "heavily blood-stained left side", on the basis the section of the rock referred to was not confirmed to actually be blood through testing.

During the discussion, the rock itself lay wrapped in plastic on a desk at the front centre of the court.

The objection came following a morning in which Senior Constable Vercoe was asked by the crown to dress as she would have on the day of the initial crime scene examination and provide demonstrations to the jury and judge of both the protective gear she would wear and processes that would be followed in the forensic collection and testing of samples for the presence of human blood.

During this demonstration she was asked a number of questions by the crown about what she would have done on November 7, 2013, the day police first assessed the crime scene at Collum Collum station, west of Baryulgil.

The court later heard Ms Vercoe's accounts of returning a number of positive blood test results on items of clothing belonging to both Mr Cotter and Mr Gordon, a Rabbitohs towel found at Mr Gordon's Malabugilmah residence, and a white Mitsubishi Magna belonging to the accused.

On her third examination of the damaged vehicle at Raven's Smash Repairs in South Grafton, on November 29, 2013, Senior Constable Vercoe said she noticed a portion of skin with hair attached hanging from a splash shield on the underside of the car.

"I formed an opinion a person had come into contact with the underside of the front passenger side of the vehicle," she said.

Senior Constable Vercoe is expected to be cross-examined in Grafton Court House on Thursday.



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