Police suspected Gerard Baden-Clay murdered his wife “very early in the piece” while Allison’s family will “grieve her tragic death forever”.
The murder trial of Gerard Baden-Clay may have never heard from the convicted killer if a ruling at a critical point of the case went the other way.
The seven men and five women of the jury were unaware Mr Baden-Clay’s defence team tried to have the murder charge against the former real estate dismissed the day before he stepped into the witness box.
But we were
The application could have changed the entire course of the trial.
The jury was also unaware that Mr Baden-Clay, a former prestige Brisbane real estate agent, secretly sold the Gold Coast home he owned with his wife to fund his legal battle from his prison cell.
The prosecution spoke of Mr Baden-Clay’s behaviour in the days and weeks after his wife’s disappearance, but could not speak of his time behind bars so as not to prejudice the jury.
Evidence heard during his failed bail application and his pre-trial hearing was also withheld from the jury at the trial.
The jury heard the Baden-Clays purchased a Paradise Point investment property.
But, it was not told that Mr Baden-Clay arranged, from his prison cell in the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, for the investment property to be sold three months after being arrested for his wife’s murder.
The jury was also unaware Mr Baden-Clay remained in custody for the duration of the trial, having been deemed too great a flight risk and denied bail by the Supreme Court in 2012.
The Baden-Clays’ beach shack on Abalone Avenue was owned by the couple’s company World of Top Step Pty Ltd, of which Mr and Mrs Baden-Clay were both directors.
Mr Baden-Clay also applied, from his prison cell, to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to have his late wife removed as director and secretary of WOTS. what a loving grieving husband, protecting his few dollars
The sale was revealed in Supreme Court documents relating to the control of Mrs Baden-Clay’s estate in September 2012.
Her father Geoff Dickie was awarded interim control of his late daughter’s estate in 2012, after arguing her assets should not be sold off or proceeds divided before her husband faced trial.
The grieving father, who with his wife is now caring for his three granddaughters, said he did not know the full value of his daughter’s estate.
“I did not know the full extent of the assets and liabilities of the estate because most documents relating to Allison’s financial affairs are held by the police,” he said in his affidavit.
Mrs Baden-Clay’s will was made in 1997, just before her marriage to Mr Baden-Clay and before she had any children.
In it she lists her future husband as the sole executor and benefactor of her will and appoints Mr Dickie as the executor if Mr Baden-Clay could not fulfil the obligations.
Mr Dickie will have to re-apply to take control of his daughter’s estate, although Mr Baden-Clay has been found guilty of her murder. amazing isn’t it?
The jury was also unaware of additional evidence raised in Mr Baden-Clay’s bail application relating to the forensic examination of his mobile phone, which his defence team successfully explained away.
Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller, QC, described Mr Baden-Clay’s mobile phone as his “lifeblood’’ given he was a real estate agent.
Two days before reporting his wife missing, Mr Baden-Clay Googled “taking the fifth” at 10.08pm.
Police alleged the search led to results including “self incrimination”, which he accessed through Wikipedia.
The trial heard Mr Baden-Clay watched a television program with his parents on the night of April 18, 2012, after he and his wife returned from taking a drive to the Mt Coot-tha lookout to discuss his infidelity.
The court was not told that program was The Good Wife on Channel 10.
Mr Baden-Clay claimed he searched the web for the American legal term to help explain it to his mother.
Indeed, police were able to verify that that night’s episode of The Good Wife made numerous references to the term.
Police said the forensic examination of Mr Baden-Clay’s phone showed he Googled “self incrimination” on April 20, just minutes before he dialled triple-0 to report his wife missing. He only accessed the page for three seconds.
Mr Baden-Clay said he did not search the internet for the term, but rather the web-page from his previous search “simply reloaded”. yeah we believe that
Similarly, the initial forensic examination showing Mr Baden-Clay made a FaceTime call to his father about 12.30am on April 20 was found to be incorrect.
Mr Baden-Clay’s pre-trial hearing heard police investigators realised Mr Baden-Clay’s iPhone 3GS was not capable with making FaceTime calls.
”There was a false positive in the tests,” police computer analyst Neil Robertson said.
The jury was privy to the evidence, but not the legal argument when Justice John Byrne aired his concerns about the defence case during the trial.
Once the Crown closed its case against the accused on the 10th day of the trial, Mr Baden-Clay’s defence team lodged an application for the murder charge to be dismissed.
Barrister Michael Copley, QC, made the application for “no case to answer for murder” on behalf of Mr Baden-Clay, saying evidence of a struggle between the accused and his wife did not confirm she was “fighting for her life”.
Justice Byrne said he had three concerns about drawing such conclusions, although he was careful to couch his responses in hypothetical terms.
“She was involved in a physical altercation with him. She did not survive that. Why is it not in all the circumstances open to the jury to infer that she did not survive it, because he proceeded with his intention to kill her?” he asked.
Mr Copley said: “Because … all the evidence goes to show is that there was an argument, there was arguably a fight, she responded physically towards him, and she is dead. That is all the evidence shows.” this was on the 10th day of the trial folks, I was furious not being able to share this
Justice Byrne replied: “But what if what happens is this: after she scratched him, she fell forward bumped her head and died of a cerebral haemorrhage, I mean, his conduct afterwards looks pretty odd.
“On the Crown hypothesis, he deals with her body in the most undignified fashion, going to some trouble to hide it.
“If all that has been is an altercation of not much substance that happened to go wrong … why would he not have immediately called an ambulance?”
Justice Byrne noted there was no evidence to suggest Mrs Baden-Clay had fallen and hit her head on bricks or cement. She suffered no significant head injuries and no bone fractures, according to the report of forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne.
“What he did involved disposing of the body in an undignified way … and he then engages in serious subterfuge,” he said. our learned Judge was on the ball
Justice Byrne said the injuries on Mr Baden-Clay’s face were more consistent with fingernail scratches, on the evidence from forensic experts. Mr Baden-Clay maintained the injuries were shaving cuts.
“He lies about the scratches and does more than that, he uses the razor blade to create the appearance some hours later of scratches on the face in that area,” he said.
“He then lies to the police about these things and maintains the deception.
“Why wouldn’t the jury say, given a moment of panic … all that happened thereafter is inexplicable.”
Justice Byrne turned his attention to the pressures in Mr Baden-Clay’s life at the time of his wife’s disappearance – his ongoing affair with his long-time mistress Toni McHugh and the financial stress relating to his real estate business.
The court had heard Ms McHugh and Mrs Baden-Clay were due to come face-to-face for the first time at a real estate conference on the same day Mr Baden-Clay reported his wife missing, April 20, 2012.
“All in all he had every reason to be under the severe strain that may have caused him in anger and resentment to engage in violence that resulted in her death,” Justice Byrne said.
“But the critical question for the present is whether the post-offence conduct … and the prolonged nature of the deception that followed could justify the inference to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm.
“Not merely, for example, a panic reaction to an unintended and an unwished-for death.
“In this context, it’s necessary to bear in mind that there was a deal of post-death conduct engaged in; lies to the police about the facial scratches, as well as the children and family members. In all probability, lies about having been asleep that night and about his wife having left the bed at some stage during the evening.
“In my opinion, given all the circumstances, its open to the jury to be satisfied that the only reasonable inference on all the evidence is that the accused not only unlawfully killed his wife, but killed her intending to cause her death.”
Justice Byrne dismissed the application, allowing the trial to continue.
Had the application been successful, Mr Baden-Clay would have only had to answer to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Mr Baden-Clay was convicted of killing his wife at their home in the affluent western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body on the banks of Kholo Creek, 14 kilometres away.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 15 years without parole.