10 Nov 2009

Burton jury told to ignore any 'preconceptions'

5:01 pm on 10 November 2009

The defence lawyer for high profile inmate Graeme Burton has told a High Court jury to put aside any preconceived ideas they have about the prisoner.

Burton, 38, is on trial for the attempted murder of fellow inmate Dwayne Marsh at Auckland Prison in December last year.

The Crown says he attacked Marsh in one of the maximum security wings at the prison and stabbed him at least seven times with a 31cm stainless steel rod with a sharpened end.

Court suppression orders prohibit the media from revealing why Burton is in prison.

Defence lawyer Peter Tomlinson told the jury in his closing submission that his client had a past some of them would be familiar with, and their reaction to that past in this trial was completely irrelevant.

He said they must put aside any such views and judge Burton purely on the evidence before the court.

Not proven - defence

Mr Tomlinson also said the Crown's evidence fell short of proving an attempt to kill.

He conceded his client did attack Marsh, but that did not mean he wanted to kill him.

A forensic scientist earlier told the court no blood was detected on the steel rod alleged to have been used by Burton during the attack.

He was seen brandishing the weapon during several minutes of CCTV footage and it was found his cell after the attack.

The scientist said blood was found throughout Burton's cell and the cell block but testing of the rod did not reveal any blood on it.

She said puncture holes found in the t-shirt worn by Marsh could have been made by the rod or by another sharp-pointed instrument.