8 Mar 2016

Jury in WINZ shooting trial retires to consider verdict

5:37 pm on 8 March 2016

The jury in the High Court murder trial of Russell Tully, who is accused of carrying out the 2014 Ashburton WINZ shooting, has not reached a verdict today.

Russell Tully at the High Court today.

Russell Tully (file) Photo: POOL

Today the jury and a packed gallery heard closing addresses from the crown prosecutor, Mark Zarifeh and friend of the court James Rapley, who is assisting the accused.

Justice Cameron Mander has summed up the case and the jury retired to consider their verdicts. The jury has not reached any verdicts today and has adjourned. It will reconsider the evidence tomorrow morning.

Mr Tully was present in court today after being absent for most of the trial, but chose not to give a closing address.

The 49-year-old is charged with the murders of Peggy Noble and Leigh Cleveland and the attempted murder of two others at the Ashburton Work and Income office in September 2014.

Mr Tully also faces two fire arms charges and a charge of setting a trap, the police say was intended to hurt people.

Crown prosecutor Mark Zarifeh

Mark Zarifeh Photo: POOL

The gallery was packed for Mr Zarifeh's closing address this morning.

Mr Zarifeh told the jury there was no doubt the man who walked into the office and opened fire was the accused.

The evidence was overwhelming, he said.

"We have heard from scientists that the DNA evidence found on the helmet which the shooter left outside the office is Mr Tully's.

"We knew he was in the area of the office that morning because we've heard from multiple witnesses who saw him and served him at the local New World and pharmacy."

Evidence found on Mr Tully when he was arrested proved he was the shooter, he said.

"The distinctive green jacket which has been seen in the CCTV footage from Work and Income was found in his backpack, and the distinctive inX stickers were also in his backpack. You will remember one of the stickers was found on one of the shotgun shells in the office.

"He was arrested hiding in a hedge, why was he in the middle of nowhere? Why was he hiding? If he had done nothing wrong, why was he there?" Mr Zarifeh asked the jury.

Friend of the court speaks for Tully

The friend of the court assisting Mr Tully in his double murder trial has told the jury they need to ask themselves carefully, has the Crown proven Mr Tully was the gunman beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Rapley told the jury they needed to be clear, calm and cool headed when considering a verdict.

Mr Tully, who is representing himself, has not given evidence and did not give a closing address.

Justice Cameron Mander, Wednesday 2 March.

Justice Cameron Mander Photo: POOL

Crown lawyer Andrew McRae says this empty gun cartridge found at the WINZ office, with the same 'inX' label Russell Tully's belongings had on them, places him at the scene of the crime.

An empty shotgun cartridge found at the WINZ office Photo: RNZ / Conan Young