29 Apr 2014

Gosnell claims lawyer bullied him

7:03 pm on 29 April 2014

The man convicted of killing Christchurch teenager Hayden Miles says his former lawyer bullied him into not giving evidence.

Hayden Miles who was 15, was beaten to death and dismembered by Gavin Gosnell at his flat in August 2011, before his remains were buried in graves in two Christchurch cemeteries.

Gavin Gosnell, who last year was sentenced to life imprisonment, is appealing his conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal.

Gosnell, who appeared before the court on Tuesday by video link from prison, called his former lawyer a liar and attempted to interrupt the court during legal arguments, forcing the court to cut the link.

Gosnell's former lawyer Craig Ruane also appeared by video link. He told the court that from a very early stage his client admitting assaulting Hayden Miles, but never intended to kill him.

He says Gosnell gave three statements to the police, the first two were "clearly lies" and a third, on video, which gave Gosnell's version of events.

Mr Ruane told the court there were several problems with his former client giving evidence. He was "fairly discursive" in his answering of questions and he would be subject to extensive cross examination. He also says Gosnell's evidence wouldn't have helped his case.

Gosnell told the court Mr Ruane put him under immense pressure and bullied him into not giving evidence, despite numerous requests to do so.

He says he wanted to give evidence to apologise to Miles' family, challenge the evidence of a key witness, whose name is suppressed, and give his version of events.

But Mr Ruane says he never received an "influx of letters" from Gosnell and although his former client called him "fairly frequently" before the trial, Gosnell used the calls to reiterate that he hadn't intended to kill Mr Miles and was sorry.

"The impression I gained was that he was sitting in his cell stewing over the case and he rang me to make his intentions clear."

Mr Ruane says that's why he urged the jury to consider manslaughter, rather than murder in his opening address at the trial.

Gosnell's lawyer, Tony Rickard-Simms, asked Mr Ruane about a document Gosnell signed in the closing stages of the trial, electing not to give evidence.

Gosnell says he was pressured into signing the document and thought he could still give evidence.

"I gave him advice, I gave him firm advice, as is often my practise, but it was his decision," Mr Ruane said.

He says if that had been his former client's wish he would have spent the weekend preparing a brief of evidence, rather than a closing address, as he did.

The court has reserved its decision.