15 Oct 2014

Murder accused intended to rob victim

6:32 pm on 15 October 2014

The Crown says four men accused of murdering a North Otago farm worker had gone to his house intending to burgle or rob him.

Justin McFarlane, 35, was found at his rural home in Elderslie near Oamaru in September 2013.

This afternoon a Crown prosecutor, Lisa Preston, began opening arguments in the jury trial at the High Court in Dunedin by outlining the events the Crown says led to the murder.

She said Steven Boskell, Robert Cummings and brothers Ryan and Jacob Geary-Smart had been drinking and taking drugs before driving to Mr McFarlane's rural property intending to rob him and - in the words of Mr Boskell - give him a few twacks.

Ms Preston said evidence will show they were all directly involved or supported the deadly attack.

Jury finally found

Justice Gendall thanked them for their patience in a process he described as tortuous.

A jury of six men and six women was chosen at the start of the trial at the High Court in Dunedin on Monday after a lengthy process, but this morning two jurors were excused by Justice Gendall.

After discussions with the judge, a series of 10 replacements were also excused and the 12th juror was confirmed just after 12.30pm.

Justice Gendall thanked the final jury for their patience in a process he described as tortuous.

Stephanie Rose McCormack is charged with being an accessory.

The trial is expected to take six weeks.