Australia Prosecutor in Gordon Wood trial 'not ill-motivated', court told

04:25  19 november  2019
04:25  19 november  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Gordon Wood leaves the Supreme Court , where he is suing the state of NSW. Associate Professor Rod Cross gave evidence at Mr Wood 's trial that Ms Byrne could not have committed suicide at The Associate Professor Cross told the jury that, given the short run-up distance available, she could not

Mark Tedeschi tells civil hearing he presented evidence at Wood ’s murder trial ‘very fairly’.

Video provided by AAP

A NSW Supreme Court judge identified "many failings" in the way Gordon Wood was prosecuted for the murder of his girlfriend Caroline Byrne but he was not prosecuted maliciously, the Court of Appeal has heard. 

Mr Wood, 56, is appealing against a decision of Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton last year which found he was prosecuted for Ms Byrne's murder "without reasonable and probable cause" but had not established he was prosecuted maliciously, which would have entitled him to damages.

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Gordon Wood sat back and watched as Senior Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi , QC, slowly Mr Wood 's statement of claim before the NSW Supreme Court alleges the state, via Mr Tedeschi Associate Professor Cross gave evidence at trial that Ms Byrne could not have landed nine metres.

A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system.

Mr Wood was initially found guilty in 2008 of murdering Ms Byrne, 24, by throwing her off a cliff at The Gap in Watson's Bay in June 1995. He was sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in prison.

But he was acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal in February 2012, after spending more than three years behind bars. The court found the guilty verdict was "unreasonable" and suicide could not be excluded.

On Tuesday, the second of a two-day hearing of his malicious prosecution appeal, Peter Neil, SC, for the state of NSW, said Justice Fullerton had "pointed out bluntly the many failings" of Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, in carrying out his duties as a prosecutor in Mr Wood's murder trial.

Amir Farshad Ebrahimi wearing a suit and tie: Gordon Wood in March 2017. © James Alcock Gordon Wood in March 2017. Justice Fullerton found Mr Tedeschi adopted a "flawed approach" and "those flaws were ultimately productive of gross unfairness" to Mr Wood, a former chauffeur to late Sydney stockbroker Rene Rivkin.

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Gordon Wood outside the NSW Supreme Court in 2017. Credit:Daniel Munoz. "It was completely devoid of malice or ill will towards the plaintiff and the The court previously heard Mr Wood was left traumatised from his experience in jail, where he said he was bashed, threatened and undernourished.

Gordon Wood 's lawyer, Bruce McClintock, SC, pointing to the rocks where Caroline Byrne's body was found. He was released after he was acquitted Bruce McClintock SC said the retired professor had a motive to see his client convicted because he was writing a book Evidence for Murder: How Physics

While Justice Fullerton found some of Mr Tedeschi's explanations for his conduct "highly questionable" and "in some respects disingenuous", she was not satisfied he acted maliciously.

Mr Neil conceded Mr Tedeschi had "tunnel vision" during the prosecution and had focused on evidence, subsequently found to be flawed, suggesting the Sydney model was thrown from The Gap, "to the exclusion of many other factors".

"Mr Tedeschi was convinced ... she could not have propelled herself there on her own power," he said.

However, Mr Neil said Mr Tedeschi "was not ill-motivated in the sense of malice at law" and Justice Fullerton's decision should not be set aside.

He said Justice Fullerton also found that "despite his shortcomings" Mr Tedeschi "did not lie to her in his evidence".

Tom Molomby, SC, for Mr Wood, said Justice Fullerton had not made a finding that Mr Tedeschi had not lied to her, but that "there was no proof he had lied".

Justice Fabian Gleeson, Justice Anthony Payne and Acting Justice Carolyn Simpson reserved their decision.

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