11 Nov 2019

David Lyttle murder trial: 'Innocent people say they did it' - defence

6:46 pm on 11 November 2019

The defence in the David Lyttle murder trial has started its closing arguments - saying a confession was coerced and pure fiction.

David Lyttle in the Palmerston North High Court.

David Lyttle Photo: RNZ / Anne Marie May

Mr Lyttle is on trial in the High Court in Wellington for the murder of his friend Brett Hall in May 2011.

Mr Hall went missing from his Whanganui property, and the Crown says Mr Lyttle admitted to undercover police in 2014 that he had killed him.

In his closing arguments today, defence lawyer Christopher Stevenson said the confession was just a story.

"We now know - especially from the DNA exonerations and her honour the trial judge - told you about this at the beginning of this case - innocent people say they did it," he said.

Mr Stevenson went back over the police operation, showing the jury a photo of Mr Lyttle's small family home and then a photo of a luxury Porsche vehicle.

That car was involved in the undercover operation.

Mr Stevenson said Mr Lyttle was not ripping his "mate" off and a feud the Crown talked about between both men was "overplayed."

He discussed text messages between Mr Lyttle and Mr Hall which appeared to be friendly and no tension was identified.

On Friday, Crown lawyer Michele Wilkinson-Smith said there was only one person responsible for the murder - Mr Lyttle.

"David Lyttle was meant to be his friend - he took his money - and then Crown says he took his life," she said.

She told the jury to think carefully about the verdict after hearing weeks of evidence.

"You can't shy away from delivering the verdict that the evidence leads you to," she said.

Justice Mallon will give her closing statements tomorrow, before the jury of six men and six women deliberate a verdict.