Daniel Morcombe murder trial jury retires to consider verdict


The jury in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe has retired to consider its verdicts.

Daniel Morcombe Discussion Page here

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel was abducted and murdered on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 and his remains were found in nearby bushland in 2011. previous posts and daily coverage of trial here

Brett Peter Cowan, also known as Shaddo N-Unyah Hunter, has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child, and interfering with a corpse.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson began proceedings this morning delving into the undercover police operation.

She told jurors they cannot use against Cowan his right to remain silent when he was arrested.

Justice Atkinson told the jury it had been a long trial with a lot of evidence.

She said jurors could check any facts of the case while considering their verdicts.

Justice Atkinson has provided jurors with a question trail to help them reach verdicts.

Earlier this week, prosecution and defence lawyers gave their final submissions.

In the past four weeks, more than 100 witnesses have given evidence at the trial.

The court heard police found the schoolboy’s remains at an old macadamia farm at Beerwah in 2011.

Seventeen bone fragments were found after one of the largest searches undertaken by police and State Emergency Service volunteers.

Defence lawyer Angus Edwards said there was no proof Cowan killed Daniel and the alleged confessions recorded by undercover police were made up.

Mr Edwards said it was more likely convicted child rapist Douglas Jackway killed the schoolboy.

“For a fellow like him to be driving down that stretch of road past Daniel Morcombe would have been like a snake going past a wounded mouse,” Mr Edwards said.

“He stalked, abducted and killed Daniel Morcombe, and if you accept that, all the other evidence in this trial will fall into place.”

He said Jackway’s sexual assault of a boy in 1995 had striking similarities to Daniel’s case.

He owned a blue car, and a blue car was seen by witnesses circling and stalking the teenager as he waited for a bus, Mr Edwards said.

The car “wasn’t always in the same position. It was stalking Daniel Morcombe”, he said.

The inevitable conclusion, Mr Edwards said, was that Jackway was involved in Daniel’s abduction.

He said although there was no direct evidence of the convicted paedophile’s involvement, the jury should draw inferences.

But prosecutors said that scenario was a red herring and Cowan’s confessions were truthful because of their detailed nature and gravity.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said Cowan alone led police to Daniel’s remains and his confessions were not forced.

Mr Byrne said despite Jackway’s horrendous crimes, he was a “cheap target” and there was no evidence he was on the Sunshine Coast that day.

Justice Atkinson told the jury yesterday to put out of their minds anything they have seen, heard or read about the trial outside of the courtroom.

“The evidence is what you’ve heard in this court and not recollections of what you might have read in the newspaper or seen on television or heard on the radio at some time during the past or even during the trial,” she said.

“You should dismiss all feelings of sympathy or prejudice against the defendant or anyone else.

“Nor should you allow public opinion to sway you, you must approach your duty dispassionately.”

A Look back at the key developments in the murder case of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

December 7, 2003:

Daniel Morcombe, 13, vanishes while waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on Nambour Connection Road at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He was on his way to go Christmas shopping when he disappeared.

December 7, 2004:

About 1,000 people attend a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance. A special plaque is also unveiled at the site.

October 4, 2004:

A $250,000 reward is posted by the Queensland Government for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

February, 2005:

Parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe launch the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to continue their message on child safety.

December 1, 2008:

A record $1 million private reward is offered for new information about the disappearance.

April, 2010:

The State Coroner receives an extensive investigation report, containing thousands of pages, from police regarding the suspected death.

October 13, 2010:

A coronial inquest led by State Coroner Michael Barnes begins. The inquest is held in Maroochydore and Brisbane. It adjourns on April 6, 2011.

August 13, 2011:

Brett Peter Cowan, 41, is arrested and charged. Police and State Emergency Service volunteers search bushland in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as part of the investigation. Over the next two months, a pair of shoes and human bones are discovered. DNA results confirm they belong to Daniel Morcombe.

November 26, 2012:

Cowan’s committal hearing begins in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

December 7, 2012:

A funeral is held for Daniel Morcombe at St Catherine of Siena Church at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast, nine years to the day since he disappeared. He was laid to rest at Woombye Cemetery.

February 7, 2013:

Cowan ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland. He is charged with murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

February 10, 2014:

Cowan’s trial begins. It is expected to take six weeks. A pool of about 100 potential witnesses may be called to give evidence.

 

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