Jarrett murder trial winds up
THE jury at the murder trial of Mitchell Anthony Winefield in Coffs Harbour has been told to consider a verdict, “not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of proof”.
NSW Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable Justice Elizabeth Fullerton, has told the jury not to be overwhelmed by the task ahead of them.
Winefield, 45, stands accused of fatally stabbing Caleb Jarrett, 18, during a late night fight in Nambucca Heads two years ago.
The 12-member panel received its final instructions yesterday before Justice Fullerton began her summation of the trial.
She will continue to summarise witness testimonies and legal argument this morning, meaning the jury could begin deliberations as early as today.
Justice Fullerton explained the jury must consider whether the Crown had proven beyond reasonable doubt if Winefield was guilty of murder.
The jury was asked to consider three elements; whether the deliberate act of the accused caused the death of the deceased, whether the accused held the intent to kill the deceased or inflict grievous bodily harm and to assess if the accused acted in self defence.
Justice Fullerton explained that if the jury finds Winefield guilty of murder, they must find the stabbing was a willed act, and not a spontaneous reflex.
It was explained that if Winefield is found not guilty of murder, then the charge of manslaughter must be considered.
Jurors would then decide if the actions of the accused caused the death of the deceased and were his action’s unlawful or dangerous.
“If you come to consider self defence . . . it is for the Crown to have persuaded you the accused was not acting in self defence,” Justice Fullerton said.
Undisputed evidence stands that Caleb suffered 10 knife wounds on the night of February 14, 2009, dying roughly half an hour after suffering a fatal stab wound to his chest, which penetrated his heart.
“What is in dispute between the Crown and the accused is whether the Crown has satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that wound resulted from a willed or voluntary action of the accused,” Justice Fullerton said.
“The accused said he had the knife in his right hand as he was trying to push himself off the ground.
“He said he could not explain how he managed to stab the deceased with that penetrating wound I described.”
Justice Fullerton raised the Crown’s arguments that Winefield’s testimony had been in ‘direct contrast’ to the version of events he gave at a trial last year.
“On that occasion the accused said he had both arms pinned by the weight of the deceased,” she said.
The Crown argues it would have been physically impossible for the wound to have been inflicted in the way the accused said in his evidence.
It was noted the testimony of Winefield’s former defacto who said “the accused was a collector of knives and that the knife that killed the deceased looked like a knife that belonged in his collection.”
“I used the words ‘looked like’ because they are her words,” Justice Fullerton said.
“The accused’s case is that he was not armed with the knife, because he says the knife was not his.
“He says at that time the deceased dropped the knife or it fell from his hand.
“He saw the knife on the ground and picked it up in order to stop the deceased re-arming himself with the knife.”
The jury was asked to consider witness testimonies that Winefield allegedly said, “words to the effect of I got you” afterwards, possibly reflecting an awareness of the wounds which were inflicted.
Justice Fullerton said the jurors must also assess evidence indicating Winefield’s frame of mind at the time.
She said Crown evidence suggested he left the house after ‘bickering’ with his defacto.