Weapon was not focus of search

POLICE were not looking for a murder weapon the first time they searched the residence of the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting, the Supreme Court has heard.

Zayden was found bludgeoned to death and laying in a pool of blood by his mother on June 15, 2012.

Harley Hicks, 21, of Long Gully has pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated burglary and theft.

The Crown alleges Hicks committed a series of burglaries near Zayden's Eaglehawk Road home on the night of the child's death, and killed the child.

Detective Senior Constable Mark Crossley told the court police had authority to search Hicks' Green Street address for stolen property on June 17, but had not been told to look for a murder weapon.

“We were briefed and tasked to investigate the burglaries and theft from motor cars,’’ he said. “At the time we searched the premises, I had no understanding of whether a weapon had been involved in the homicide or ... been told to look for a weapon or anything of that sort.''

Detective Senior Constable Crossley told the court that on June 20, police returned to the address with another warrant, allowing them to search for evidence in relation to a homicide.

When a wallet was found in a car in the driveway, the area was declared a crime scene and the search ceased until investigators arrived from Melbourne.

Meanwhile, the court also heard the father of Harley Hicks say Hicks’ twin brother Ashley was at home on the night Zayden’s death.

John Hicks told the court Ashley was at home watching football with him on the evening of June 14 before going to bed to play computer games.

Mr Hicks said he saw Harley the following day, and his son told him he was leaving Bendigo. He said Harley had ‘’mousey brown’’ hair that day. Mr Hicks told the court he next heard from Harley on June 19, when he received a phone call asking him to pick him up from the Gisborne football oval.

He said Harley then had “bleached’’ hair. The pair were intercepted and arrested by police on the way back to Bendigo.

When questioned by defence counsel David Hallowes about why his earlier statements to police said he saw Harley on the June 14 rather than 15, Mr Hicks became confused.

When asked if he backdated entries in his diary about the night of June 14 to protect Ashley, Mr Hicks answered “protect him from what?”. The trial continues.


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