Did dead man’s ID evidence lead to torture conviction?

A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.
A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking. Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

THE use of a dead man's police statement in a torture trial could result in a retrial if Queensland's highest court decides it was inadmissible.

Christopher John Adcock was one of three people charged over an incident in a unit on Moreton Parade in Caloundra on August 7, 2014.

At trial he was convicted of torture, assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and in company, and deprivation of liberty.

Bruce Woodford (who has since died) had told police he arrived home to the unit, where he had been living for about a month, and saw a young girl with a swollen head and dark eyes.

He identified Adcock among the people at the unit that night.

Adcock is arguing in the Queensland Court of Appeal that the verdicts were not reasonable and that Mr Woodford's witness statement should not have been before the court.

The court heard on Wednesday how a 21-year-old woman, who went to the unit with two other people, was assaulted numerous times, tied up, tasered, choked, questioned and threatened. There was also an incident with a kettle cord, a syringe and she was fed an opiate-based drug.

Barrister Colin Reid, acting for Adcock, told the court on Wednesday that Mr Woodford's statement - including identification of his client - could not be tested and therefore should have been excluded.

He said Mr Woodford could not be asked how he identified Adcock, whether they had met previously or how long he had observed him at the unit.

"His death, of course, concluded all such inquiries," he said.

"It's clear he wasn't shown a photo board or anything of that nature because none of that was produced and there was no line-up.

"He describes himself as being half-pissed or fairly pissed.

"In my submission, it was evidence which didn't assist the interests of justice in this particular case."

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne accepted Mr Woodford's evidence was important for the jury to consider.

But if the appeal court decided the statement should not have been admitted as evidence, he said the Crown believed the remaining evidence was strong enough to convict without it.

"It is not, in our submission, an instance where there is insufficient evidence to warrant a retrial," he said.

Mr Byrne said the jury could have convicted Adcock using a photo that matched other descriptions given of him and because he was directly associated with the unit where the offence happened - including a photo taken two days later.

The appeal court reserved to a date to be fixed its decision on whether to grant the appeal. - ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  conviction crime death man torture

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