25 Mar 2015

Mark Lundy not giving evidence

1:05 pm on 25 March 2015

Mark Lundy will not give evidence in his defence because he does not need to, his lead lawyer has told the High Court at Wellington.

Week four Lundy trial 18/03/15

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mark Lundy, 56, is accused of murdering his 38-year-old wife, Christine Lundy, and seven-year-old daughter, Amber, whose bodies were found in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000; the Crown claims Mr Lundy killed his wife for her insurance money and Amber because she saw what he was doing to her mother.

Lead defence lawyer David Hislop, QC, this morning officially opened the defence case, although a number expert defence witnesses have already appeared.

Mark Lundy's lead lawyer David Hislop

Mark Lundy's lead lawyer David Hislop. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Hislop told the court crucial to the Crown's case was that Mr Lundy took a "secret" round trip from Petone to Palmerston north to kill his family.

"There was no secret journey. He was in Wellington when they were murdered," Mr Hislop said.

The jury would not hear from Mr Lundy as there was "simply no need", and he was not obliged to give evidence.

"After all, it's the prosecution who brought him here, and they have to prove (their case)."

"You know what he says. He's repeatedly said it. 'I did not kill my wife and child. I was in Wellington'."

Christine, Mark and Amber Lundy.

Christine, Mark and Amber Lundy. Photo: SUPPLIED

"Really, he can't tell you much at all, so there's little point. The Crown brought this case and it's for them to prove it."

Mr Hislop said the defence case was "sort of like a jigsaw" - it would take the pieces they believed best demonstrated Mr Lundy's case he was innocent.

"The defence is, as doubtless you've worked out, it was simply impossible for that man to have murdered his wife and child on the 29th or 30th of August. Simply impossible."

If Mr Lundy remained in Petone, as the defence contended, then it did not matter if the central nervous system (CNS) tissue found on his shirt was human or animal; all it proved was he was a "sloppy" eater.

A number of prosecution and defence witnesses have all agreed two smears on the shirt were CNS but the defence contends it could be from an animal, and could have got there via contamination.

Private investigator Tim McKinnel reviewed the police file for the defence but in cross-examination the Crown accused him of being selective in choosing which material to put before the jury.

Mr McKinnel's document included information from a witness who he said had heard a high-pitched female cry between 8.30pm and 11.30pm on 29 August before the bodies were found.

However Crown Prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk read the full police entry, which said the sound the witness heard was a word being yelled out as opposed to a distressed scream, and that she thought it could have been someone calling a dog.

Mr Vanderkolk asked Mr McKinnel why he had used only part of the statement.

"You were attempting to mislead this jury by suggesting through this document that Mrs Lundy screamed somewhere between 8.30 and 11.30," Mr Vanderkolk said.

Mr McKinnel said the inference he was trying to mislead the jury into believing it was Mrs Lundy screaming was wrong but he accepted it would have been helpful to have a few more sentences.

The defence had earlier questioned police on reports of a dog "nutting off" in the area on 29 August but Mr Vanderkolk today said it was the dog's owner who made the comment, and that they also said it had done so on two of three nights between 27 and 29 August.

Mr McKinnel was the final defence witness. Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC, will now present his closing address.

*Clarification - For the avoidance of doubt, please note that Radio New Zealand reporter Sharon Lundy is no relation to Mark Lundy.