Jury in fatal home brew case expected to retire today

UPDATE: The jury in the Ballandean fatal home brew case is expected to retire to start deliberations some time today.

Crown prosecutor David Meredith is expected to complete his final address to the jury this morning to be followed by a summing up of the case by Justice Ann Lyons which she foreshadowed as taking about two hours.

The jury of seven men and five women will then retire to consider a verdict, possibly from about noon.

EARLIER: A defence submission that a third party may have somehow intervened in the making of a home brew grappa that left three men dead and another seriously injured has been rejected by the prosecution.

Crown prosecutor David Meredith said there was just no evidence of a third party involved in the making of a home brew which left Joel Lynam, 21, Vincent Summers, 21, and Bryan Wilmot, 30, dead and Joshua Lynam with organ failure.

William (Bill) Neil Clarence Lynam, 71, who made up the brew, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one of grievous bodily harm.

Mr Meredith pointed to Joshua Lynam's interview with police during which he said they had watched as their father made up the brew using liquid from a 20ltr drum, poured into a five litre contained and mixed with water and essence to make a home-made bourbon.

It is the Crown case that Bill Lynam took the 20ltr drum from a shed where he made bio diesel and that instead of adding ethanol to the mix he had poured in industrial strength methanol that was used to make fuel.

Earlier:  Industrial methanol thought to have been in a 20ltr container which could have led to the deaths of three young men who drank home made grappa could not have been put there by accused Bill Lynam, his barrister claimed.

In his closing address to the jury, defence barrister John McInnes said Bill Lynam had described his long-standing process of destilling wine to make home-made spirits and a completely separate activity of making bio-diesel.

At no time would his client have poured methanol into any 20ltr container and it was his submission that his client had not done so, Mr McInnes said.

Upon their request, Bill Lynam made up a batch of home made bourbon for his sons Joel, 21, and Joshua and their friends Vincent Summers, 21, and Bryan Wilmot, 30.

The four consumed the home-made alcohol with softdrink on the Lynam family property at Ballandean on the night of June 7, 2013.

All four became increasing ill the next day as their bodies broke down the methanol and ultimately Joel Lynam, Vincent Summers and Bryan Wilmot died of methanol toxicity.

Joshua Lynam, who had not drunk as much as the others, remained in intensive care for four days and suffered some organ failure though he recovered.

William (Bill) Neil Clarence Lynam has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one of grievous bodily harm.

The Crown contends Bill Lynam was criminally negligent in not taking appropriate care when providing the alcohol to the young men.

Mr McInnes submitted it was highly unlikely his client would depart from his long-standing process of making the distilled spirits and use a 20ltr drum and suggested it did not happen or at the least there must be a doubt.

The was a real possibility that a third party may have somehow been involved.

Mr McInnes said there was no reason why Bill Lynam would pour methanol into a 20ltr drum and "I suggest he didn't".

A number of character witnesses, including Granite Belt wine industry identity Angelo Puglisi told the court of knowing Bill Lynam for many years and that he was held in high regard in the Stanthorpe and Ballandean communities.

The Crown has made a point of the fact that the Lynam property appeared "messy" with numerous containers held in the still shed, in the house and adjoining shed and in the open yard, most of which carried no labels.

However, Mr Puglisi and fellow defence witnesses Davydd Westlake, Geoff Martin and John Arlidge each said they had been to the Lynam property and that though it might appear messy Bill Lynam knew exactly where everything was.

Mr Puglisi told the court he had known "Billy" Lynam since they were "little boys" and he had a "fantastic reputation of being honest, reliable and helpful".

He said Bill Lynam was very good mechanically and not only helped fix machinery for a number of farmers he had also made machinery to be used on farms.

Crown prosecutor David Meredith will start his closing address this afternoon.

EARLIER: A Southern Downs father will not be called to the stand to testify as part of an ongoing manslaughter trial in the Toowoomba Supreme Court.

Bill Lynam's legal team is expected to call a number of witnesses who will testify to the Ballandean man's character.

The evidence will form day six of the manslaughter trial in which the Crown claims Mr Lynam did not intend to harm anyone but was criminally negligent in providing a home brew to four young men without taking proper care.

Joel Lynam, 21, and two friends Vincent Summers, 21 and Bryan Wilmot, 30, are alleged to have died from methanol toxicity after drinking homemade grappa made by Mr Lynam at the family's Puglisi Lane property on June 7, 2013.

Mr Lynam's other son, Joshua, was the sole survivor but sustained organ failure and spent four days in intensive care.

Mr Lynam has pleaded not guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one count of grievous bodily harm.

The trial before Justice Ann Lyons continues with its jury expected to retire Tuesday or Wednesday after closing addresses.



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