21 Aug 2013

Jury told to put themselves in accused killer's shoes

12:33 pm on 21 August 2013

The High Court judge overseeing the murder trial of a man who hid his friend's skeleton in a closet, on Wednesday told the jury to put themselves in his shoes to determine whether he meant to kill or not.

James Grant Cooper is charged with murdering Javed Mills, whose skeleton was found in a Mount Wellington garage in 2011 - without its skull.

The Crown has argued that Mr Mills was killed him because Mr Cooper was angry about money owed to him, but his lawyer argued he was acting in self defence.

The accused's lawyer said he broke up the dead man's skull to try hide evidence because he was afraid the death would be misconstrued.

Summing up the case at the High Court in Auckland, Justice Christopher Allan said it's accepted that Mr Cooper killed Mr Mills during a fight, but the jury must decide whether he intended to kill him.

The jury is expected to retire to deliberate its verdict later in the day.