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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Murwillumbah murder accused’s fate in jury’s hands

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The fate of Michael Martin, who allegedly murdered his father in 2014 to claim $2.5 million in life insurance, rests in the jury’s hands after they retired to deliberate their verdict yesterday following an eight-week trial.

Michael Martin jnr is charged with the murder of his father, Michael Martin snr on June 13, 2014.

He is also charged with the attempted murder of his father and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to his father’s friend Edmund Manning, following an attack on the pair in April 2014.

The jury of 12 people now must consider their verdict on each charge based on the  evidence they heard during the trial.

Before the jury retired just after 11am on Thursday, Justice Peter Hamill, in summing up the case, said the issue of provocation must be considered.

He said if the deceased committed a serious indictable offence toward the accused, causing the accused to lose control, it could be considered extreme provocation.

Extreme provocation, Mr Hamill said, could be considered if conduct occurred years before the actions which killed a person.

Justice Hamill said this was particularly relevant in the Martin case as the jury heard evidence about Mr Martin snr’s abusive upbringing by his father.

He told the jury they had three options to consider when deliberating the murder charge against Mr Martin jnr: guilty, not guilty and guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The lesser charge of manslaughter may be considered if the jury decide Mr Martin jnr was involved in the killing but was acting under extreme provocation.

Michael Martin jnr has previously pleaded not guilty to his father’s death and denied any involvement.

The jury must consider whether the crown had proved Mr Martin jnr was involved in events leading to his father’s death.

The be guilty, Justice Hamill said Mr Martin jnr must have been present at the scene and playing a part in the violence.

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