Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Court Drama as Outback Trial Girlfriend Is Quizzed over 'Affair'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Court Drama as Outback Trial Girlfriend Is Quizzed over 'Affair'

Article excerpt

Byline: FRANK THORNE

THE OUTBACK murder trial was sensationally halted today when Joanne Lees was asked about an affair she was alleged to have been having while she was with boyfriend Peter Falconio.

The dramatic moment came as Ms Lees was telling an Australian court of the night she and her boyfriend were ambushed by a drifter who flagged them down in their camper van on a remote stretch of road.

Ms Lees, 30, told how she heard a shot ring out as she hid in bushes after escaping from the gunman. Mr Falconio, 28, has not been seen since the attack three years ago.

Under cross examination from defence lawyer Grant Algie, Ms Lees was asked about saying she needed to delete some emails.

Ms Lees, who spent five months working in Sydney while she was living with Mr Falconio, said she had to delete emails because she was receiving so many her Hotmail account would be closed.

Mr Algie said: "Were you concerned that police would become aware of emails you had received from someone called Steph? Who is Steph?"

Ms Lees: "Don't know."

Mr Algie: "Is not Steph a pseudonym, a false name, for someone you write to through email called Nick?' Ms Lees: "Yes."

Mr Algie: "Who is Nick?"

Ms Lees: "A friend."

Mr Algie: "A friend from Sydney with whom you had a relationship?"

A stunned Ms Lees was not allowed to answer as prosecutor Rex Wild sprang to his feet to object.

Mr Algie protested, telling the magistrate he had reason to believe that if Ms Lees was in another relationship at the time, it was relevant to the case and affected the credibility of the witness.

"I should be permitted to explore," he said.

Magistrate Alasdair McGregor said the credibility of Ms Lees was "hardly appropriate for this forum". With that, the hearing was adjourned for the day.

The prosecution alleges that drifter Bradley Murdoch trussed up Hove travel agent Ms Lees and murdered Mr Falconio as they travelled across Australia. …

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