Garda murder trial underway

Police found the body, believed to be that of Byron Bay businessman, John "Jack" Garda, 54 , in the Broadwater area, south of Ballina, on Sunday. Lennox Head man Kevin Purtill, 38, was charged with murder. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star
Police found the body, believed to be that of Byron Bay businessman, John "Jack" Garda, 54 , in the Broadwater area, south of Ballina, on Sunday. Lennox Head man Kevin Purtill, 38, was charged with murder. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star Jay Cronan

A MAN accused of murdering a Byron Bay businessman in 2010 has blamed his brother for the crime.

The Supreme Court trial of Kevin Purtill, who is accused of murdering John "Jack" Garda at his Lennox Head home on February 8, heard Purtill's defence barrister Mark Dennis will allege his brother Warren was Mr Garda's killer.

Warren Purtill has been sentenced to four years' jail after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact of the murder and to a charge of fraud.

Kevin Purtill's jury, empanelled on Monday to hear the estimated four-week trial, was discharged after five minutes today when the court heard that one juror had failed to inform the court of a prior medical condition that would have prevented them from sitting on the trial for the expected four weeks.

Another jury was selected and sworn in about 11.15am.

Evidence was heard from six witnesses yesterday including Mr Garda's close friend and bookkeeper Susan Rafati and the man who supplied Garda with the cocaine he sold to Purtill, Zohar Kohavi.

Mr Zohavi told the court he sourced 0.5kg of cocaine from Sydney for Mr Garda to sell to Purtill.

He said on the afternoon of February 8 he gave Mr Garda two 250 gram packages of bubble-wrapped cocaine before he dropped him at a pub at Suffolk Park on his way to Mr Purtill's house.

"He was very nervous, I don't know why," he said. When Mr Garda didn't return after an hour, Mr Zohavi said he began to call his two mobile phones.

Six days after Mr Garda went missing Mr Zohavi said he met Mr Purtill at the Lennox Head hotel and told him, "Don't lie to me, I know exactly what has happened."

"I asked him where is the drugs and he said he sold it for $86,000," Mr Zohavi told the court.

The trial continues today at Lismore Supreme Court.

John "Jack" Garda

Topics:  lennox head, lismore supreme court, murder, police

Investigations after two house fires on same G'Bah street

The first property to be damaged by fire in Eggins Place, Goonellabah, in late September. Another house fire occurred in the same street three days later.

Two houses caught fire three days apart

The amazing life of Doctor Gregory Smith

Southern Cross University 2016 PhD graduates Dr Gregory Smith and Dr Kate Neale, two of five SCU students to become doctors of philosophy on the weekend.

One of the country's "Forgotten Australians” has graduated

Hogs come to chopper's rescue

TO THE RESCUE: Members of HOGS and the Helirescue crew (from left : Mark Stenning, North Coast Chapter; Billie Haley, Northern NSW leader; Craig Santilla, Gold Coast Chapter; Iceman, director of GCC ; Vivien Resevsky, GCC; Sue Bergman,   GCC; Callum Fry, Helirescue crew; Mark Sewell, HC; and Bryan Felton, director of Mid North Coast Chapter.

Motorcyclists raise funds for Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter

Local Partners

Marilyn Manson wants a 'nice' girl

Marilyn Manson wants a girl who understands both of his identities

Angelina turns to Depp for consolation after divorce

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their six children

Angelina Jolie is reportedly being consoled by Johnny Depp

Conner's food distraction leads to elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Conner Bethune.

HUNGER gets to castaway as Australian Survivor's tribes merge.

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction