Bouncer guilty of Kiwi's murder
A mountain of a man broke down in tears as he was found guilty of murdering New Zealander Andy Marshall by pushing him out of a pub window in Perth.
Stefan Pahia Schmidt, 26, seemed genuinely surprised at the verdict which could see him spend his life in prison.
A West Australian Supreme Court jury delivered the verdict late last night after an eight-day trial.
It took just five hours to find Schmidt guilty of murder, rejecting less severe charges of manslaughter and unlawful assault causing death.
Schmidt had not denied pushing Andrew Marshall, 29, through the window of the Ocean Beach Hotel in Perth's upmarket coastal suburb of Cottesloe in May 2011, but had pleaded not guilty, saying the death was an accident as he only meant to push Mr Marshall out of the way.
He broke down, holding his head in his hands and crying as the jury left the court.
Marshall was 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 at the end of his driveway.
Marshall's family travelled from New Zealand to Perth for the trial.
His mother, Wendy, wept as the jury read their verdict.
His father, Alan, said they sought answers about their son's final hours and death, and to honour their treasured family member.
"There is no other place that we could be today," he told reporters outside court.
"It has been heartbreaking and difficult to listen to.
"We knew it was going to be tough attending the trial and we weren't mistaken.
"It has been gruelling and harrowing, at times more than we could bear."
The Marshall family had found little relief and comfort in what they had heard, he said.
"We didn't come seeking closure or even justice.
"The truth for us is that there is no verdict or outcome that will bring Andy back to us.
"We don't want to be bitter and waste our energy with regrets and grudges - that would be just punishing ourselves over and over - but we do want to send a strong message that violence is unacceptable and intolerable.
The parents likened the events leading up to their son's death to a rock being thrown on a pond: "The waves go out far and wide and it's not just one life that is destroyed. One life is one too many, but it's never just one life," Alan said.
A trained boxer and kickboxer, Schmidt had testified that Marshall got in his way at the pub as he tried to tell two girls he knew to "go home".
Marshall had been talking to the girls with his back to the window when Schmidt told him to "f*** off" and pushed him after Marshall allegedly said something in reply - words Schmidt could not remember.
Prosecutor Amanda Forrester, during her jury address, 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.
Defence lawyer Tom Percy said both the victim and the accused were desperately unlucky.
If Schmidt had "intended any serious harm" to Marshall, "he would have smashed him", Percy said.
He also said that if the window had been safety glass "we wouldn't be here today".
Percy conceded Schmidt should not have fled the pub as Marshall lay dying on the footpath outside but he was "not on trial for showing a lack of compassion on the night".
Sentencing is scheduled for September.