24 Jul 2019

McLaren Falls death: Crown closes its case in trial

6:31 pm on 24 July 2019

A jury in the High Court in Hamilton has been told that the death of a man whose body was found at McLaren Falls was the juvenile response to misinformation and rumour.

 Mitchell Curtis Rehua Paterson.

Mitchell Paterson. Photo: Facebook/Mitchell Paterson

Leon Wilson, 49, and Christopher Smith, 34, are on trial for the kidnapping and manslaughter of 26-year-old Mitchell Paterson in July 2018.

Chole Kerridge faces kidnapping and conspiring to defeat justice charges.

Five others have already pleaded guilty to their part in the death.

Mr Paterson died as a result of neck compresion, which was the result of force applied to his neck.

In her closing statement, Crown Prosecutor Jacinda Foster said that in response to claims Mr Paterson had bad-mouthed gang leader Leon Wilson, a pack of people targeted Mr Paterson.

She said he was a man they really didn't know and someone who clearly didn't want anything to do with them.

Ms Foster said Mr Paterson died trying to protect himself.

Ms Foster told the jury the Crown's case rests heavily on the evidence of an insider.

She said the evidence of Dylan Boyle, who has already pleaded guilty to charges relating to the death would prove its case.

A chain of events that included Mr Paterson being confronted and detained, ultimately cost him his life, Ms Foster said.

Facts admitted in court prove how Mr Paterson died and the roles played by those on trial, she said.

Lawyers for the three defendants will give their closing statements tomorrow and Justice Davison will sum up the case on Friday.