Re-trial pain for victim's family
The father of a former Feilding man pushed to his death through a Perth pub window is daunted by the prospect of sitting through a re-trial, after the man found guilty of his son's murder had his conviction quashed.
Stefan Pahia Schmidt was found guilty last year of murdering Andy Marshall in May 2011, and was sentenced to life in jail.
Mr Marshall's cousin, Scott Guy, was shot at the entrance to his rural property near Feilding in July 2010.
Mr Marshall was shoved by Schmidt through a glass window at Cottesloe Ocean Beach Hotel, and fell to the street two storeys below.
He had been talking to a woman when Schmidt shoved him.
At a hearing two months ago Schmidt appealed against his conviction and sentence, and in a decision released by Western Australia's Court of Appeal yesterday, the murder conviction was quashed and a re-trial ordered.
A misdirection from the trial judge over Schmidt's intentions when he pushed Mr Marshall caused a miscarriage of justice, the Court of Appeal ruled. Andy Marshall's father, Alan, who lives in Hawke's Bay, tuned into the court via video-link to watch the decision release. He was at the appeal hearing in June, so was not surprised at the outcome.
"The appeal itself was a little bit of a shock. We weren't really sure what to expect but it was fairly obvious the judges thought something was wrong.
"We were more shocked then than we were [yesterday]."
The prospect of sitting through another trial was "daunting", Mr Marshall said.
"It's a pretty harrowing process to go through. It's hard to think we might have to face that again.
"From that point of view it's a bit disappointing but at the same time there's not much we can do about it now," he said. "We accept it and if we're required to face a retrial, we'll go through it."
Mr Marshall said he and wife Wendy had support from a loving family, including Wendy's sister Jo Guy.
Mrs Guy has spoken about how hard her family found sitting through the murder trial of estranged son-in-law Ewen Macdonald, who was accused of shooting Scott, in June last year.
Macdonald was found not guilty of murder.
Mrs Guy said her side of the family would support the Marshalls, as they re-lived their heartache over their son's death.
"Whatever happens it doesn't bring Andy back. That's what we learnt a bit with our trial. It was very difficult.
"We're just there to support each other with whatever comes. It just re-opens everything."
Before Schmidt was sentenced, the prosecution conceded it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt that Schmidt pushed Andy Marshall "with the specific intention of him going through the window".
Rather, it was argued that Schmidt intended to cause injury likely to endanger life.
The trial judge did not give guidance on what injury Schmidt had intended, the appeal court ruled.
No date has been set for the retrial.
Schmidt, who was remanded in custody, will appear in court next month.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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