Pre-Trial Hearing – Monday, 3rd February, 2014 at 10:00am
Justice Peter Applegarth – Adelaidetimes.com.au
10.00 am Court – 3rd Floor, Court 3, Supreme Court, 415 George Street, Brisbane
GBC looked healthy, sitting in front of the public gallery behind thick glass with the Lawyers, Barristers and Judge in front. GBC was suntanned with a short haircut, and a good weight. He was wearing a nicely fitting suit and looked very smart. At the beginning of the Pre-Trial, he was fiddling just a little, and drinking some water out of a paper cup.
I couldn’t see any family that I know from photos at all, there was a couple with their friend in the gallery with us, whom I thought looked like Allison’s side of the family. When the evidence was discussed on what was done to poor Allison, the poor lady left, looking very upset, she then returned. She and her husband held onto each other as they listened.
GBC’s Defense, in a very professional and conversational tone, interacted with the Judge, as if they were long time business partners who respected each other, immensely.
Justice Applegarth was giving GBC’s Defense every opportunity and scope to put forward their case in a fair manner. First on the Agenda was the possibility of a Non-Publication Order.
GBC’s Defense was of course, adamant, that the media, blogs, and pre-conceptions of the general public, if any of the information from today was made public, will not allow the possibility of GBC having a Fair Trial.
Justice Applegarth was reluctant to give permission of a Non-Publication Order due to favouring Open Justice to allow a Fair Trial. GBC’s Defense said that the problem is, is that there is repetition in the public domain and that there is already information in the media that should not be available. The Judge asked if the evidence is self prejudicial and suggested that publicizing GBC’s case, in the proper manner, will then not be speculative to take the public’s attention.
Justice Applegarth also did comment that a lot of time has passed since GBC’s last court appearance, which would lessen the public’s interest with regard to the Jury Pool, as well as contempt, as long as they didn’t expose themselves to the general media, “memories are shorter” he stated. GBC’s Defense politely disagreed.
GBC is reading his black folder that was on the chair on the other side from where he was sitting, and not watching his Defense interact with the Judge.
The people whom I thought may be Allison’s relatives, to my observation, where placed so that they could watch his every movement, so my supposition is that he was keeping himself busy due to being watched, from his right hand side.
In the end Justice Applegarth wrote an order that does not preclude fair and accurate reporting.
NEXT ON THE AGENDA
Justice Applegarth said that the evidence should be heard in open court. He then raised the subject of insect bites, scratches, and marks and that Dr Milne will be on the stand shortly.
Mr Boyle for the Crown then stood to address Judge Applegarth. Mr Boyle stated that the case is mainly circumstantial evidence and that they have to try to assess the probability of fact.
Justice Applegarth said that the Crown is to prove that Allison did not suicide, beyond a reasonable doubt.
GBC did not flinch or move a muscle of emotion.
Mr Boyle said that due to a weakness of evidence, this is not grounds for exclusion. Evidence may inflame a jury with regard to the context of a circumstantial case. He then referred to the Sika case.
Dr Milne, Court Approved Forensic Pathologist, called to give evidence.
On 1st May, 2012 there was a Post Morten exam of ABC and an Autopsy Report.
GBC reading his folder.
There are three possible injuries:
Cause of death – Subdural Hemorrhage (bleeding to the brain) as a possible injury. Post Mortem changes make findings difficult. When the brain was examined, it was grey on the surface, the nature of the material could not be determined; what is in evidence could be due to Post Mortem changes. If there was an injury – blunt force trauma – from object or a surface. This is a probability.
GBC listening and not moving
Subdural hemorrhage is a possibility, which can be most likely cause of death if there was a blunt force injury, one can expect an injury to the scalp and face, or laceration. Due to Post Mortem changes, Dr Milne couldn’t assess.
There wasn’t a scull fracture from the CT scan; however, you don’t need a fracture for a Subdural Hemorrhage.
Other possible injury – Chest
Looking inside the sternum of the chest wall at the soft tissue and ribs, there wasn’t a rib fracture, there was most likely a hemorrhage from death or after death.
GBC reading his folder the entire time
Other possible causes are:
The Defense asked Dr Milne if he would expect other injuries to be associated with the above. Dr Milne said that if ABC was conscious, scratches and injuries will be seen inside the mouth and internally to the neck and face. He said that he couldn’t assess the soft tissue at Post Mortem. The neck wasn’t fractured if strangulation was attempted, although it is possible to be strangled without bone damage.
IN SUMMARY FROM GBC’S DEFENSE:
“The cause of death is unable to be determined?”
Doctor Milne said, “Yes. There was a CT Scan which is an X-Ray investigation through a small tunnel creating images of the body and bone from different sections to see what is going on visibly. The CT scan is State of the Art. Images run through the body at 2mm and through the head and spine at 1mm.”
GBC’s Defense: “Despite that, no cause of death, no definite injuries identified; however, you said that insect larvae in tissues raises the possibility of pre-injury. Possible injuries to chest wall and the chipped tooth could be older. Subdural Hemorrhage, if a true injury, indicates a blow to the head with force”.
Dr Milne said, “I can’t say if true or not”.
GBC’s Defense: “Decomposition couldn’t confirm the possibility of Subdural Hemorrhage, “Possibility” is as high as it gets. Chipped tooth and jaws may or may not be recent. If recent, impact would be to the mouth with a mild force. No obvious signs of trauma which may or may not be of origin. Can’t be said recent or not recent. Bruising inner chest wall if true injury impact, is probability of mild force.
GBC reading his folder
OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH
1. GBC’s Defense: “Smothering and strangulation are possible with no supporting evidence if there was smothering or strangulation, there would be an injury from the hands, sheet or towel. There weren’t any fractures?”
(GBC watching Doctor and drinking water)
Dr Milne: “Depends on nature of strangulation, there wasn’t any physical evidence to support it”.
GBC’s Defense, “Doctor is speculating without evidence”.
“There was a possible injury to the chest wall. Level of certainty to bruise, more than likely a bruise, rather than after Post Mortem. This couldn’t be confirmed microscopically.”
GBC a bit flushed
GBC’s Defense then stated to Justice Applegarth after Dr Milne left, that his evidence is inadmissible. He went on to quote other cases at great length to support his defense, i.e. prejudicial cases heard previously due to possibilities that the evidence will be of intense prejudicial value of speculation of causes from the Jury, so it is inadmissible.
GBC watching and listening, showing more interest, with a slight patina of sweat over his face.
GBC’s Defense stated that the highest of Dr Milne’s opinion for the Jury is a, “Possibility” so the above should be excluded. Justice Applegarth said that the bruise will undercut the Suicide Theory.
Author’s note: I noted when in Court, that the worms and larvae were not dwelled upon but glossed over. The Crown said very little, only their short statement.