Crown gives closing address in Hicks trial

THE Crown is giving its closing address in the Supreme Court in the hope of proving beyond reasonable doubt the accused man Harley Hicks killed baby Zayden Veal-Whitting.

Crown prosecutor Michele Williams SC told the court she would rely on circumstantial evidence to prove her case.

Zayden was found laying in a pool of blood in his cot on June 15, 2012.

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

"The baton we do say is the murder weapon,'' Ms Williams said. "We do say that and we say that with confidence.'' 

Ms Williams told the jury the crown must prove four ingredients, the first of which was the major issue in this trial, being that it was the accused man’s act or acts that caused the death of Zayden.

The crown also must prove that the acts were voluntary and deliberate, that he was intending to kill or cause serious injury and that he had no lawful justification or excuse.

 “There are no eyewitnesses - not unusual,’’ Ms Williams said. “ This is what's called a circumstantial case.

The crown alleges Hicks committed a series of burglaries on the night of June 14/15, 2012, and was the person who entered the Eaglehawk Road property, stole a wallet and sunglasses and killed Zayden.

 “We know that he was out committing burglaries or trying to and breaking into cars to steal money, that's what his intention was ... he told police that.’’

“The Crown case is, of course, that one of those houses that he broke into was Eaglehawk Road where he stole Matthew Tisell's wallet, we say, containing money - the very thing he was looking for that night. 

“It’s undisputed that the baby monitor was pulled out or turned off. 

“It's undisputed that Zayden was … bashed to death. 

“So perhaps he awoke, perhaps he stirred.  If so the motive was to silence him so that he, we say the accused, would not be apprehended, would not be caught.  He, after all, was on a mission to get money that night.

“That's what he was out for.  That's what he told the police, and he hit the jackpot, didn't he, you might think, after the petty things that he'd found in the other burglaries, because Mr Tisell's wallet had a large amount of cash in it.’’

Ms Williams told the jury one of the things Hicks told an undercover operative police office was he had heard through the media the baby woke in fright. 

“There's no evidence of that in the media at all,’’ she said.

“That's why I asked the question of the informant, Detective Harwood, but the killer might know that. 

“The killer's going to know if the baby woke in fright.  It might be a small piece of evidence, but sometimes small pieces of evidence even are quite telling. So we say the acts were designed to silence Zayden to avoid being caught.’’

Ms Williams said the Crown would rely on circumstantial evidence, including:

An admission by Hicks that he stole a set top box from a property across the road from Zayden’s home, putting him in close proximity. The set top box was found at Hicks’ home; 

Hicks was in the area around the same time as the child’s death; 

Evidence suggesting Hicks stole Mathew Tisell’s sunglasses and wore them the day after the child’s death; 

Scales belonging to Mathew Tisell being found at Hicks’ home; 

A white wallet belonging to Mathew Tisell being found at Hicks home; 

Hicks was seen counting money when he returns in the early hours of June 15, but did not leave with any; 

A baton found at Hicks’ home, found to be carrying DNA that matches his profile and that of Zayden.

Ms Williams said other evidence related to Hicks’ ‘’post offence’’ conduct, including him fleeing to Gisborne the day after the baby’s death, a day earlier than planned.

“So that's the first of five pieces of evidence where we say you can infer his guilt,’’ she said.

“That is he knows he's committed the crime of murder, he knows he's killed Zayden - he wants to get out of Bendigo.’’

Other evidence being relied on by the Crown includes Hicks searching the internet for information relating to himself, the Long Gully burglaries and the child’s murder; cutting up his tracksuit pants; Hicks fleeing the home of his then-girlfriend’s sister when he found out the police were looking for him and spending the night at the Gisborne football oval and Hicks lying about being with another man on the night of the murder.

“Why did he nominate Aiden?  Because he knew he himself was the killer of Zayden.  He himself wanted to nominate a false killer to protect himself,’’ Ms Williams said.

The crown will also rely on evidence given by the undercover police officer, during which time Ms Williams alleges Hicks revealed information only the child’s killer would know.

"One of the houses I went into had a balcony - I took a piss over the balcony … that's what he said.

“"And there was a dog there.  The dog was inside the house."  Now, we say he's talking about Eaglehawk Road.

“Back porch, pretty much like a balcony, could be described as such; a dog, who he described as a Doberman, actually a boxer.  So when we come to examine the undercover operative and what he has to say, the killer, the one who went to Eaglehawk Road, might know those things, might remember those things.’’

The closing address continues. 

HICKS TRIAL - DAY BY DAY

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