Murder accused's tense wait as jury considers verdict
A JURY will tomorrow enter its second day of deliberation to decide whether a young man is guilty of murder.
The trial of Lucas John Scot Bell, 25, began in Bunaberg Supreme Court last Monday, and after hearing from a range of witnesses and listening to the closing arguments of the prosecution and defence, the jury was sent out to consider its verdict shortly after 11am today.
But Bell's future was no clearer by 5pm with the jury unable to return a verdict. Justice Duncan McMeekin sent them home for the night and they will continue their deliberations at 9.30am tomorrow.
Bell is accused of the murder of 27-year-old Caine Hammond, his sister's boyfriend, in April 2012.
In his summing up, Justice Duncan McMeekin told the jury their verdict needed to be unanimous and if they found Bell not guilty of murder, they would also be asked to decide if he was guilty of manslaughter.
"The accused is under no obligation to prove anything," Justice McMeekin said.
He also described the principles of self defence to the jury.
"The law does not punish someone for reasonably defending themselves," Justice McMeekin said.
"The greater the threat, the greater the force you can use to defend yourself."
He summed up the case put forward by crown prosecutor Greg Cummings.
"Mr Cummings asked why did Mr Hammond die and he said because of a violent attack on him... by the accused," Justice McMeekin said.
"(Mr Cummings) said (Bell's) actions showed an overwhelming desire to get to Hammond.
"He said it wasn't self defence but retaliation."
Justice McMeekin said in his summing up, defence barrister John McInnes said his client was a young man with a good work history and no history of crime or violence.
"(Mr McInnes) said this was an ordinary fight between two men of roughly the same size who became aggravated with each other," he said.
"He said the disparaging comments recorded by police might be typical after any fight.
"What you do know is he'd walked away twice from the fight."
Justice McMeekin pointed to the defence comments that consent to the fight was irrelevant in this case.
"On all accounts it seems Carl Hammond was a willing participant in the fight," he said.
"(The accused) told police he was trying to calm the situation until Hammond took a swing at him."