An Auckland jury has been told there is a vacuum of evidence against a man accused of murder by burning a man alive.
Twenty-one-year-old Shalvin Prasad's body was found in charred scrub in Kingseat in January 2013, a day after he'd taken $30,000 from his life savings.
The Crown says Mr Prasad was murdered by Shivneel Kumar and Bryne Permal for his
Mr Permal and Mr Kumar both deny murder.
In defending Mr Kumar, lawyer Ron Mansfield told the jury they were being asked to infer from unknown acts that there were murderous acts.
"The Crown asks you to infer that it was an intentional act that caused the unconsciousness not an accident and to determine from really a vacuum of evidence that there must have been an unlawful act."
Mr Mansfield also said there was no evidence of a struggle by Mr Prasad as petrol was poured on him, so he may have been thought dead, and burning his body seen as a way of destroying evidence.
The lawyer defending Mr Permal said the theory his client was there as so-called "muscle" in the killing was speculation for which there was no evidence.
Paul Borich told the jury that the Crown had tried to sell the idea that he was there to be the muscle, but that this was guesswork, and was probably as weak as the theory that Mr Prasad was killed in an execution-style attack.
Mr Borich said there was a real lack of evidence on the central issues of the case.