The Crown has accepted that it cannot prove who fired the fatal shots to the head that killed Bradley Alan Lomax, but it says the jury can find both accused men guilty as parties to the murder.
Prosecutor Pip Currie described the rule of “party liability” to the jury in her closing address on day 10 of the murder trial in the High Court at Christchurch.
The rule meant that if the two men had a common intention to commit an offence, and helped each other to commit the act, they were a party to every offence committed if it was a “probable consequence”.
“The Crown acknowledges that we don’t know who put the fatal shots into the head – one into each eye,” she said. “Fortuitously our law doesn’t require the Crown to prove who fired the fatal shot.”
Mrs Currie said Bradley Alan Lomax had been effectively executed in the “killing fields” of the Waimakariri.
“The Crown case against both defendants is completely overwhelming. Despite them both denying they have any responsibility for the fatal shots, each of their actions in law amount to them being a party to the murder.”
Before the court are Kasha William Gosset, 37, of Oxford, and Cody Derek Martin, a 31-year-old drainlayer from Mairehau, who both deny the joint charge of murdering Lomax. They blame each other for the killing which took place on September 4, 2017, on the Waimakariri Riverbed near Kaiapoi.
The Crown says the men carried out the killing as retribution for Lomax’s treatment of a woman all three of the men knew. The woman has name suppression.
Mrs Currie said both men had lied and gave sanitised accounts of their involvement. They admitted being present but wholly blamed the other for their killing.
Mrs Currie asked the jury if they could believe that Gosset was unaware what was going to happen at the riverbed when they drove Lomax out there, and whether Martin believed they were only going to give Lomax a “rarking up”.
She said the Crown did not accept Martin’s claim that he did not know the shotgun was loaded, and that he had fired accidentally, hitting Lomax in the leg, when Lomax was approaching with an angry look on his face. She referred to a comment Martin was recorded making to a police officer that he had “only shot him in the knee to scare him”.
She referred to passages from Gosset’s video interview in which he said he had known what was going to happen and had driven them all to the riverbed.
In evidence, he said he was sleep deprived and high on methamphetamine when he gave the interview and denied its contents.
Defence counsel James Rapley QC said the jury had to take care with natural prejudices and sympathies after spending two weeks hearing about a story and a lifestyle involving “the under-belly of Christchurch”.
He said Gosset had not known Lomax was going to be harmed when he drove the three of them to the riverbed. He had not killed Lomax. Martin had killed him, and had fired all the shots.
Gosset had thought they were going to the riverbed to collect money and smoke methamphetamine, as suggested in text messages that were placed before the trial.
The Crown case against Gosset relied on two “flawed” interviews, with him and with a woman who gave evidence that he admitted the killing to her. He described the woman as “an actress”. The jury would be left unsure of Gosset’s guilt, he said.
Defence counsel for Martin, Josh Lucas, said his client had no reason to kill Lomax and did not know what would happen that night. He thought they were going to talk to Lomax, and did not appreciate that there was a real risk that Gosset would kill him.
He said that Gosset killed Lomax because of a woman, because he thought he was “scum”, and because he owed Gosset $6000. “He killed for money, for hatred, and for a woman.”
Everything that Martin had told the police had been the truth, and had been backed up by evidence, Mr Lucas said.
He also asked the jury not to be swayed by the lifestyles they had heard about. “None of these men were leading law-abiding lives. Loaded guns and drugs were their norm.” Just because they took weapons, did not mean they intended to use them. They always carried weapons when they did drug deals.
Martin had no reason to hurt or harm Lomax. They were mates, and there was no beef between them, he said. Shooting Lomax in the leg was “a gross overreaction to a perceived threat”.
Justice Cameron Mander will sum up for the jury on Tuesday morning, before the jury retires to consider its verdicts.