14 Oct 2016

Gable Tostee murder trial enters final stages

6:51 pm on 14 October 2016

Closing statements in the trial of Gable Tostee - accused of murdering New Zealander Warriena Wright, who fell to her death from his Gold Coast apartment - have begun after his defence team offered no evidence.

Warriena Wright and Gale Tostee

Warriena Wright and Gale Tostee Photo: Supplied

Prosecutor Glen Cash QC told the Supreme Court in Brisbane there was "terror bordering on hysteria" in Ms Wright's voice as Mr Tostee forced her onto his 14th floor balcony.

He said she continued to plead to be allowed to go home after being locked out of the unit on the night she died.

Mr Tostee, 30, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the New Zealand tourist, who fell to her death from his Avalon Apartment in August 2014.

It is alleged the pair had been on a date after meeting on the Tinder app, but became involved in a violent, drunken altercation in Mr Tostee's unit in which Ms Wright threw rocks at the accused and tried to hit him with a telescope.

In his closing address, Mr Cash said Ms Wright had "probably" unlawfully assaulted Mr Tostee, but he said the force the accused used in response was unreasonable.

Mr Cash argued when Ms Wright tried to hit Mr Tostee the "tables had turned" and she had become the victim who was trying to defend herself.

He said Mr Tostee had very quickly dealt with the danger posed and restrained Ms Wright.

The court heard he continued holding her down, told her to leave and she agreed before he forced her onto the balcony - without her phone.

Prosecution outline 'two options' facing Wright

Mr Cash argued Ms Wright's fear of Mr Tostee prompted her to attempt to climb down from his 14th floor balcony.

"Why was she climbing down at all?" he asked to the jury.

"Why was she attempting an act which even while sober and in daylight would undoubtedly be considered dangerous?

"The prosecution, ladies and gentlemen, says the answer to that question is fear. Fear of the defendant. Fear of Gable Tostee. Fear of what he would do to her if he let her back inside. Fear of continuation of the violence that she had suffered at his hands in the moments before he forced her on the balcony.

"What abject terror would drive a person in circumstances of Warriena Wright to attempt so risky a manoeuvre as to in the dark, when she was affected by alcohol, to climb off the balcony in an attempt to go down?"

He said if Mr Tostee had instilled such terror in Ms Wright as to make her feel this was her only means of escape, he as good as pushed her off the balcony.

"What would she have thought about her options at that point in time? She couldn't use her phone to gain assistance," Mr Cash told the jury.

He argued Ms Wright had just two options.

"One was to try and go back into apartment to go back through where Gable Tostee was, to have to engage with the man who, on the Crown case, had violently restrained her," Mr Cash said.

"The man who had just told her in response to her begging to be permitted to go home that he would not let her do so because she had been in his words 'a bad girl'.

"In light of what he had done and what she feared he would do, what then was her only reasonable and rational option in those circumstances?

"The only remaining option is to attempt to climb down the balcony to escape Gable Tostee.

"If you're persuaded the defendant's conduct instilled in Warriena Wright such fear, such terror as to leave her with no better option than to attempt to escape Gable Tostee by climbing down, then he has caused her death as much as if he had pushed her from the balcony himself."

Tostee not a 'cartoonish villain'

But defence barrister Saul Holt QC told the court Ms Wright's decision to climb over balcony within seconds of being locked out was not reasonably foreseeable.

He argued "there would have to be someone chasing you with a knife" for Ms Wright's response to be considered reasonable or proportionate.

He said she had made a decision "to climb to certain death".

"She just climbed off into the darkness and lowered herself down," he said.

"This was a climb that wouldn't have worked unless you were Spider-Man."

Mr Holt said Tostee acted lawfully to defend himself and that locking the balcony door was an attempt to de-escalate the situation, rather than intimidation.

"This is as weak a Crown case on the intention to do grievous bodily harm as you will ever see," he said.

In his closing address, Mr Holt said neither Tostee nor Ms Wright "in their worst nightmares could not have conceived" how the night would end up.

The jury was urged to consider the evidence with "real caution" and "real humanity" given the case involved two drunk people.

Mr Holt describe Tostee and Ms Wright as real people with real virtues and real flaws, not the "Tinder killer" and innocent victim.

He said his client was not the "cartoonish villain portrayed in the media".

The court previously heard Mr Tostee would neither give evidence nor call his own witnesses.

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