The man accused of raping and murdering Blessie Gotingco will be kept in a cell for the remainder of his trial after reacting angrily to a judge’s summary.
The accused became increasingly agitated throughout Justice Timothy Brewer’s summary at the High Court in Auckland this morning, clenching his jaw, looking at the clock and passing his lawyer notes.
He then stood up abruptly and launched himself at the dock door to the cells, yelling abuse at a security guard behind the door, who was trying not to let him into the corridor.
However he pushed his way through and Justice Brewer gave the order for him to be kept in the cells during the remainder of his summary.
Before dismissing the jury the judge asked them to disregard the outburst.
“Don’t hold that against him.”
It had been evident throughout the trial just how “vital” the court process was to the accused, he said, which was natural considering the seriousness of the charges.
The jury was dismissed at 11.45 am.
Earlier during his summary Justice Brewer asked the jury to reach a verdict “unaffected by prejudice and sympathy”.
He told them they should not jump to the conclusion that because the accused had a criminal history, he was guilty of killing Ms Gotingco.
“You must reach your verdict unaffected by prejudice and sympathy,” he said.
“You cannot help but be affected by what happened to Ms Gotingco.”
He asked them to consider the evidence logically and rationally.
They must come to a verdict solely on the evidence presented before the court, he said.
They could also consider the points both the Crown and defense raised, but what they made of it was up to them.
Any witness evidence should be assessed on whether it was “credible and reliable”.
“Credibility means honesty and sincerity,” he said.
“You are 12 adults, you’ve spent your whole lives getting to know people,” he said, referring to their ability to judge people’s intentions.
The accused’s own credibility was clearly an issue, and the Crown had called his evidence “lies”, Justice Brewer said.
“If you do decide that [the accused] has told a lie you don’t write him off for that reason.
“Don’t think that because he lied about one thing he lied about everything else.”
People lied for all sorts of reasons, he said, including being scared about what might happen to them, or even just being stupid.
The jury needed to assess whether the Crown had proved the accused had the “necessary criminal intention” to commit rape and murder while high on methamphetamine when he hit Ms Gotingco with his car.
They would need to assess “just how high he was”, after the Crown challenged his evidence about having a heavy drug addiction.
In reaching a verdict, the jury would need to assess whether the Crown had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“It is, at the end of the day, a very human judgment that you have to make.”
The Crown alleged the accused staged a premeditated attack on Ms Gotingco when he hit her with his car on May 24, 2014.
They argued he aimed to incapacitate her so he could take her back to his North Shore apartment and rape her, before strangling and stabbing her, and slitting her throat.
The accused admitted hitting Ms Gotingco with his car, driving her to his apartment and stabbing her several times.
However he maintained he hit the victim by accident and thought she died on impact.
He told the court he was not in his right mind at the time, as he was high on methamphetamine.
When he saw what he thought was her lifeless body lying on the road, he panicked and took her back to his apartment to be home for his 8pm electronically-monitored curfew.
He stabbed her to make it look like a “random attack” before dumping her body in Eskdale Cemetery the next morning.