13 Jun 2011

Secret witness focus of murder trial closing arguments

7:05 pm on 13 June 2011

The credibility of a secret Crown witness has been the focus of closing arguments in a murder trial for a man bludgeoned to death in January 2010.

The Crown says the witness saw the murder, but a defence lawyer says it is likely she is the real killer.

The Crown says Dean Browne, 38, was bludgeoned to death with hammers by Karl Nuku and Rhys Fournier in a Wellington flat, then dumped in a New Plymouth garage.

Mikhail Pandey-Johnson, 24, is accused of masterminding the attack.

During the trial at the New Plymouth High Court, a witness with name suppression described the killing. The jury was told she injected the Mr Browne with morphine to ease his suffering, but has not been charged.

The witness helped clean up and did not go to police, but the Crown says her story is reliable at it matches other evidence.

The lawyer for Mr Pandey-Johnson, Paul Keegan, says it is ridiculous for the witness to claim innocence after giving a potentially fatal dose of morphine.

Police have also relied on accounts of prison cell confessions from another man with name suppression.