Trouble with outlaw motorcycle gangs ended in the violent murder of Michael Martin at Murwillumbah in 2014, the barrister for the late man’s son, who is charged with his murder, has told a Supreme Court jury.
Michael Martin jnr’s counsel Gabriel Wendler told the jury at Lismore Supreme Court on Tuesday trouble with bikie gangs offered the ‘most incisive account’ of events which resulted in Mr Martin snr’s death.
On the night of April 6, 2014, Mr Martin snr and his friend Edmund Manning both suffered life-threatening injuries when they were attacked at Mr Martin’s unit.
‘Retribution came calling on that night and as a result he was assaulted and severely beaten up by these people,’ Mr Wendler told the jury.
If a bikie feud wasn’t to blame, News Corp reported Mr Wendler said alcohol could have contributed to the April incident.
‘Given both Manning and the deceased were hardcore alcoholics (perhaps) they had a fight and inflicted these injuries on each other,’ Mr Wendler said.
The evidence available did not ‘stack up’ to alleged admissions to murder made in a letter written by Mr Martin jnr to his wife Candace, Mr Wendler said, which he described as ‘the ravings of a person with a history of mental illness.’
Mr Wendler suggested it wasn’t realistic, or common sense that Mr Martin jnr, who owed $27,000 in credit card debts, would use a sword to murder his father as it was ‘a pretty messy way to do it.’
He described the crown case as ‘suspicion, speculation and conjecture.’
By taking out the three life insurance policies on his father’s life, Mr Wendler said Mr Martin jnr was ‘effectively wagering’ that his father life would end prematurely.
‘What he did was not illegal…it was opportunistic, maybe callous you would say, but it was not illegal,’ Mr Wendler said.
But in his closing address on Monday, Crown Prosecutor Brendan Campbell said Mr Martin snr was the victim of a targeted campaign against him by his son.
Despite admitting Mr Martin snr was a ‘shocking alcoholic’ who treated his family ‘dreadfully’, Mr Campbell said the 46-year-old’s character didn’t mean he ‘wasn’t worthy of the protection of society.’
Mr Campbell told the jury a combination of evidence and circumstances would prove beyond reasonable doubt Mr Martin jnr was guilty of the attempted murder and eventual murder of his father.
A key component of the crown case, Mr Campbell said was a letter from Mr Martin jnr to his wife Candace, allegedly confessing to the crimes.
‘He didn’t want the letter falling into the hands of police because it was a confession,’ Mr Campbell said.
The jury heard how Mr Martin jnr purchased three life insurance policies totalling $2.5 million in his father’s name, which Mr Campbell said he took out intending to ‘profit handsomely from his father’s death.’
During his recovery from the April 2014 attack, Mr Martin snr told police the only person he could link to the attack was a man who assaulted him three years before.
But Mr Campbell told the jury the man convicted of the previous assault on Mr Martin snr was confirmed to have been at Cabarita when the attack took place.
The alibi Mr Martin jnr claimed he had for the night of April 6 was questioned by Mr Campbell, who produced fuel receipts proving he drove back to Murwillumbah that night.
Mr Campbell said Mr Martin jnr’s guilt was demonstrated in the letter where he referred to visiting his father in the Gold Coast University hospital following the April attack.
‘I was guilty because every time I walked into the room I saw what I have done,’ Mr Campbell read to the jury.