7 Apr 2011

Lawyer questions Crown evidence from murder trial

7:22 pm on 7 April 2011

A man found guilty of murdering a Palmerston North drug dealer, who disappeared without a trace in 2002, has gone to the Supreme Court in an effort to overturn his conviction.

Last year, Stephen Hudson was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve at least 16 years in jail the murder of Nicholas Pike.

Mr Pike disappeared while travelling from Auckland with Stephen Hudson and Hudson's then girlfriend, Cindy Vrins.

Ms Vrins told the trial that at one stage she got out of the car and Hudson and Nicholas Pike drove down a side road, but only Hudson returned.

Hudson's lawyer told the Supreme Court on Thursday that propensity evidence relating to violence Hudson had inflicted on men who slept with his previous girlfriends was too prejudicial and should not have been admitted at the trial.

The lawyer said the use of confessions Hudson was alleged to have made to cellmates in prison was prejudicial and should not have been allowed.

But the Crown defended the use of cellmate confessions to help secure a conviction, saying the combination of all that evidence disclosed that Hudson had a motive to kill Mr Pike and did so.

The Supreme Court has reserved its decision.