Accused killer's lawyer points finger at witnesses
TWO violent drug dealers murdered Darren Britza and later concocted a cover-up story that led police to the wrong people.
That's the argument the jury deciding the fate of Bundaberg's Shane Hansen has been asked to accept as the murder trial against him and co-accused Dean Mark Wills comes to a close.
Mr Hansen and Mr Wills are accused of beating Mr Britza to death at a Southport panel beating workshop in 2001 and dumping his body. They are accused of beating him until his face caved in and then dragging his broken body through the workshop. His body was found seven years later in the Gold Coast hinterland.
None of those who claim to have witnessed the murder identified the two men allegedly responsible for Mr Britza's death but it's the prosecution's case that there is enough circumstantial evidence to convict Mr Hansen and Mr Wills.
A colourful parade of former drug addicts and dealers has given evidence in Brisbane Supreme Court about the murder in the past week.
In a final twist to the underworld case on Monday, Mr Wills's high profile barrister Angus Edwards called on the jury to imagine they were instead deciding a trial in which the owner of the panel beating workshop Paul Dewer and his former employee Matthew Ireland were the two men standing in the dock, charged with the bloody murder.
Playing the part of prosecutor, Mr Edwards asked the jury not to think of Mr Dewer as the prosecution witness on his "best behaviour” but as the high level drug trafficker he was at the time, sourcing drugs from bikie gangs and selling them for more than $65,000 a week and operating a "car chop shop” out of the Southport shed.
Mr Edwards told the jury that Mr Britza was "ripping off” Mr Dewer in the weeks before he disappeared and that as a result the panel beater drug lord was falling "deeper and deeper into debt”. He alleged Mr Dewer and Mr Ireland, a convicted car thief with a propensity for violence, had lured Mr Britza to the shed, killed him, dumped his body and "made up” a different story when his skeleton was found years later.
He argued the jury should not rely on the "drug-addled memory of junkies” who had given evidence and the jury should note that the last phone call Mr Britza ever answered was from the workshop.
Mr Hansen's barrister Andrew Hoare took aim at the interview methods police had used during the murder investigation that allegedly involved witnesses being threatened with violence and criminal charges if they did not give officers a "solid” version of events.
He also insisted Mr Britza was "dead in daylight” and that there was no evidence his client had taken part in the disposal of the body until late at night.
Crown prosecutor Michael Cowen pointed to evidence from Mr Hansen's former girlfriend who told the court "Dean came over and he and Shane were talking about how they had to shut a guy up” and that later that evening Mr Hansen allegedly said "We got rid of him - we shut him up”.
He said the memory of witnesses who were unsure whether it was day or night when Mr Britza was killed was impacted by their drug use and sleep deprivation at the time.
He also argued the evidence of Mr Hansen's then girlfriend and the fact that his car was discovered burnt out on the same night were consistent with the "more reliable evidence” given during the trial and the jury could be "comfortably and calmly” satisfied the two accused were guilty of murder.
The jury will consider its verdict on Tuesday.