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Dramatic final speeches to murder trial jury

Tue 19 Apr 2016 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Ihaia Gillman-Harris In dramatically-worded and -presented speeches to the jury the defense lawyers for the two young men charged with murdering gay man Ihaia Gillman-Harris have queried the part a violent confrontation between the three men played in the death. Beauen Wallace-Loretz and Leonard Nattrass-Bergquist are charged with murdering Ihaia Gillman-Harris on December 27, 2014. They also face charges of aggravated robbery and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle. Picking their way at length through evidence presented in court the lawyers highlighted statements by a forensic pathologist where there appeared to be a less than direct link between the attack, and Gillman-Harris's death hours later. The jury were asked to put themselves in the place of what were described as two "bone-weary, young, vulnerable, intoxicated boys" dealing with the "sexual violation of "tiny little Lenny [Nattrass-Bergquist]" by a powerfully-built man with a naval past who was a "midnight cruiser" and had an "unhealthy obsession" with men such as the defendants. A "gross difference in size" between Gillman-Harris and the youths was highlighted and it was repeatedly suggested the pair acted in self-defense. The jury were also asked to look at the motel cctv footage closely and ask themselves whether they really can see any indication of Wallace-Loretz taking a bat into or out of the motel unit. The lawyers also reminded the jury that although the crown has to present evidence to a high standard to achieve a murder verdict the defence only to illustrate "reasonable doubt" as to the accuseds' guilt to find a lesser verdict of manslaughter.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Tuesday, 19th April 2016 - 5:46pm

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