Perth window death: trial not over 'lack of compassion'

Last updated 08:31 20/06/2012

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A Perth man accused of pushing New Zealander Andy Marshall out of a pub window to his death is not on trial for showing a lack of compassion on the night, a jury has been told.

Marshall, 29, from Feilding, fell five metres after being pushed through the window of a Perth bar on to a footpath. He died in hospital hours later.

Stefan Pahia Schmidt, 26, is on trial at the Supreme Court of Western Australia for Marshall's murder. He has admitted pushing Marshall but his defence maintains the death was a "horrible accident".

Marshall is slain Feilding farmer Scott Guy's cousin. Guy's brother-in-law, Ewen Macdonald, is on trial in Wellington accused of his murder.

Marshall was killed on May 8 last year, a little under a year after Guy was found shot twice in the face and throat at the end of his driveway.

The Australian jury was expected to begin its deliberations after receiving its direction from Justice Ralph Simmonds this morning.

Defence lawyer Tom Percy, in his closing address, told the jury if the window had been safety glass, "we wouldn't be here today", Perth Now reported.

"This was not an unlawful assault," Percy said of the push that ended Marshall's life.

"It was a skirmish in a pub."

Percy conceded Schmidt should not have left the bar after the incident.

"But it's all very well to be wise in hindsight.

"Mr Schmidt is not on trial for showing a lack of compassion on the night."

Nor was he on trial for punching and pushing another man to the ground as Schmidt tried to leave, Percy said. That incident was caught on security camera just seconds after Schmidt had pushed Marshall through the window.

"Andrew Marshall was desperately unlucky and so, by the same token, is the accused," he said.

The jury heard that if the 152kg former bouncer, rugby player and trained boxer and kick-boxer had intended any serious harm to Marshall, "he would have smashed him", Perth Now reported.

Schmidt earlier testified that Marshall got in his way as he tried to tell two girls at the pub he knew to go home.

The court was told Marshall had been talking to the girls with his back to the window when Schmidt told him to "f... off" and pushed him after the victim allegedly said something in reply - words the accused could not remember.

Perth Now reported that prosecutor Amanda Forrester, during her own jury address, had described Schmidt as "like a coil, ready to spring" when he "sprung on Mr Marshall".

 

She said any reasonable person - not to mention a former crowd controller with fight experience - would have known the dangers of pushing a man standing in front of a second-storey window.

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"The accused didn't just push (Marshall) towards the window, he pushed him at it, through it," she said.

Forrester said it was like "picking up a gun, not checking to see if it had any bullets in it, pointing it at someone and pulling the trigger ... then saying the safety catch wasn't on".

"It's an inherently dangerous thing to do," she said.

"He intended to injure him."

- Fairfax Media

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