29 Jul 2014

Auckland murder trial draws to close

10:20 pm on 29 July 2014

The Crown has closed its case on the teenager accused of murdering a homeless man in Auckland.

Steven Ray Churchis, 18, has denied murdering Edwin Linder in July last year.

After hearing evidence from the pathologist on Tuesday morning, Crown prosecutor John Dixon said that completed the Crown case.

Churchis' lawyer Peter Winter told the court that there would be no evidence called for his client.

The Crown's case is that Mr Churchis kicked Mr Linder to the ground and repeatedly punched the disabled man.

The 18-year-old sat in the dock at the High Court in Auckland with his head bowed as the Crown prosecutor John Dixon made his closing arguments on Tuesday.

Mr Dixon said two friends of Mr Churchis described seeing him kick and then stomp on Mr Linder.

He said Mr Churchis himself said he kicked Mr Linder with a roundhouse before knocking him out with a blow from his elbow and throwing a combination of punches.

Peter Winter, for the defence, said there was evidence to suggest that following the kick, Mr Linder fell back and struck his head on a concrete ledge.

He said it was the fall that could have caused his injury.

The pathologist Simon Stables conducted a post-mortem examination of Mr Linder and found he had two broken eye sockets. He also had significant bleeding on his brain.

Dr Stables said he found evidence of a previous head injury.

Under cross-examination from Mr Churchis' lawyer Peter Winter, Dr Stables confirmed the pre-existing injury meant Mr Linder had a lower-threshold to a new injury than a fit and healthy person.