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Murder accused stood to 'profit' from father's death

The unit where Michael Anthony Martin was allegedly murdered in June 2014
The unit where Michael Anthony Martin was allegedly murdered in June 2014 Contributed

MICHAEL Anthony Martin may have been a "shocking alcoholic" who treated his family "dreadfully" but that did not justify his murder allegedly at the hands of his son, a Supreme Court has heard.

Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell told an 11-person jury that the then 46-year-old Murwillumbah man's character didn't mean "he wasn't worthy of the protection of society".

In his closing address, Mr Campbell said the slain father was "subject to a targeted campaign against him" by his son, murder accused Michael Phillip Martin, in 2014. Martin jnr has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

At the trial in Lismore yesterday, Mr Campbell summarised the past five weeks of evidence in his more than three hour address to the jury.

He said a combination of circumstances and evidence "painted a compelling picture" that proved beyond reasonable doubt Martin jnr was guilty of attempted murder and eventual murder of his father.

Throughout his address, Mr Campbell referenced excerpts of a letter penned by Martin jnr to his wife Candace, allegedly confessing to the crimes, to bind key points in his argument.

"He didn't want the letter falling into the hands of police because it was a confession," Mr Campbell said.

In his submission, he told the jury Martin jnr purchased three, secret insurance policies totalling $2.5 million under Martin snr's name with the intent to "profit handsomely from his father's death".

That intent, Mr Campbell said, was detailed in the letter, which he then read an excerpt from for the jury that stated "money got tighter and I had another bright idea to free up our lives more".

Mr Campbell referenced evidence that Martin snr already had a life insurance policy that covered funeral costs and supported his children. Further, he said that Martin snr turned down the opportunity to upgrade his policy in September 2013 - months before the attempt on his life in April 2014.

This, Mr Campbell said, contradicted Martin jnr's evidence last week when he told the court his father was fearing for his life in early 2014 when the policies were purchased. Mr Campbell told the jury Martin jnr's "bright idea" went wrong when his father survived the first attempt on his life, in April.

He moved to rule out for the jury the possibility that a man behind an assault on Martin snr about three years earlier was behind the attack. During his recovery, Martin snr claimed the man was the only person he could link to the vicious home invasion.

But Mr Campbell told the jury Martin snr wasn't aware of the life insurance policies his son had taken out and his convicted attacker was confirmed to be in Cabarita at the time of the attack.

Martin jnr's alibi for the night of April 6 was brought into question by Mr Campbell. He showed the court a series of fuel invoices that suggest Martin jnr drove back to Murwillumbah the night of the first attempt after meeting with his father earlier that day.

Again, Mr Campbell read another passage from the letter reflecting on Martin jnr's visits to his father at the Gold Coast Hospital, where he was recovering after the assault.

"I was guilty because every time I walked in to the room I saw what I have done," Mr Campbell read to the jury.

The trial continues before Justice Peter Hamill.

Topics:  lismore michael phillip martin murder trial northern rivers crime supreme court



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