A MAN who pleaded guilty to the murder of Kangaroo Flat mother-of-four Samantha Kelly has agreed to testify against his two co-accused at a court hearing in January.
Peter James Arthur, 45, who admitted to murdering Ms Kelly with a hammer in their Kangaroo Flat home on January 20, could receive a reduced sentence for agreeing to act as a witness, the court was told.
Arthur made the commitment under oath during a Supreme Court directions hearing in Melbourne on Wednesday.
He agreed to appear as a prosecution witness at the committal hearing of co-accused Christine Lyons and Ronald Lyons in Bendigo on January 9.
The court heard Arthur provided a statement to police on September 19, one week before Ronald Lyons had his accessory to murder charge upgraded to murder.
Christine Lyons had her charge upgraded to murder in August.
Defence counsel Shane Gardner said he would be seeking a “significant discount” for Arthur, given his willingness to provide evidence.
Mr Gardner said there could be “a contested element” to Arthur’s guilty plea, regarding “what level of knowledge there might have been prior to the 20th of January” – the date of the murder.
Crown prosecutor Fran Dalziel confirmed Arthur’s intention to provide evidence to the court.
“He’s made a statement which is in the material… and it’s anticipated in fact that the prosecution will call him, and so defence may well seek to cross-examine him at the committal,” she said.
Justice Lex Lasry told Arthur if he chose not to give evidence after his own sentencing, then he could be re-sentenced.
“If you give evidence as you have said you will, then counsel on your behalf during the plea will be entitled to make an argument you should get a sentencing discount for doing that,” he said.
Arthur will appear at a Supreme Court plea hearing in Bendigo on April 3.