Baden-Clay murder trial is not a ‘soap opera’, says defence

Allison Baden-Clay. Photo: Supplied Gerard Baden-Clay. Photo: Ten News

The trial of accused wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay is not a “soap opera” or a “whodunit play”, a court has heard.

Mr Baden-Clay’s defence barrister Michael Byrne, QC, began his closing address to the jury before a packed courtroom in Brisbane’s Supreme Court on Monday.

A former prestige Brisbane real estate agent, Mr Baden-Clay is accused of killing his wife Allison at their home in the leafy western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012 and dumping her body in nearby Kholo Creek at Anstead.Full coverage

Mr Byrne reminded the seven men and five women of the jury to ignore media coverage of the trial and consider only the facts presented in the courtroom.

“Ladies and gentlemen … this is a murder trial,” he said.

“That may sound odd to you because if you have been following what’s been happening outside this courtroom, you might be mistaken for thinking it’s been a great big media event.

“It’s not that. Nor is it a soap opera, in which various titillating elements are brought out for the amusement of the media, and it is not a whodunit play.

“Your task as the jurors is to assess the evidence, to do it coldly, by that I mean dispassionately and objectively.

“It is not to be your own detectives, do your own investigations or to be caught up in the hype that has been in the various forms of media over the last three weeks.”

Mr Byrne said the onus was on the prosecution to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that Mr Baden-Clay killed his wife of 15 years.

“The prosecution case, as you heard opened some time ago, was that he somehow violently ended her life in the very home that they shared with their three young daughters,” Mr Byrne said.

“This man, Gerard Baden-Clay, who on the evidence you have heard has never displayed violence, whose acquaintances, friends, family and children have never seen to be violent or indeed to ever argue with his wife, the Crown say on that night in April, 2012, he violently murdered her.”

Mr Byrne said the jurors must assess each piece of evidence and decide if the only “rational inference” was that Mr Baden-Clay murdered his wife.

He said the jury could consider the alternate verdicts of murder or manslaughter, but noted they had to find Mr Baden-Clay intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm to find him guilty of the higher charge.

“Members of the jury, once you have carefully considered all of the evidence, it’s my submission to you that you will not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Gerard killed Allison.

“And once you do reach that point, then it is your duty to find him not guilty.

“It’s not a favour to him, it’s not any type of merciful verdict. In fact you may not feel terribly sorry for him. Some of his foibles, some of his bad qualities have been exposed in this trial.

“It’s not about feeling sorry for anyone, not him, not Allison, not the girls. It’s whether the evidence satisfies you of reasonable doubt of his guilt. And in my submissions it does not.”

Mr Baden-Clay forfeited his right to have his defence counsel effectively have the final say in the trial after choosing to adduce evidence and step into the witness box.

The queue to the Supreme Court complex on George Street extended 100 metres from the entrance to the building on Monday morning as curious onlookers and avid court watchers gathered to see the final days of the trial.

The trial is being broadcast into two other courtrooms, such is the intense public interest in the case.

The trial before Justice John Byrne continues.

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