Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Lawyer's '$64 Million Question'; John Peros' Defence Barrister Suggests Police Were 'Blinkered' during Their Investigations into Murder

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Lawyer's '$64 Million Question'; John Peros' Defence Barrister Suggests Police Were 'Blinkered' during Their Investigations into Murder

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Mortimer luke.mortimer@dailymercury.com.au

IN THE trial of John Peros for the murder of Shandee Blackburn, the "$64 million question" was why police didn't charge a former suspect.

Mr Peros' defence barrister Craig Eberhardt suggested there was a "compelling case" against William Daniel, a prosecution witness in the trial in the Supreme Court in Mackay.

"The real killer is William Daniel", Mr Eberhardt told the jury on Thursday. "(There) can be no justice if an innocent man is convicted for a crime he did not commit while a guilty man walks free".

Mr Daniel has denied, under oath, any involvement in Ms Blackburn's death.

Mr Eberhardt also suggested police had been "blinkered" in their investigation of Ms Blackburn's death.

"Sometimes we are blind to what we don't want to see," he told the jury.

"You might think in some respects we've done a much better job than they (police) did."

In his closing address to the jury yesterday, Mr Eberhardt argued against Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips' earlier summation, saying that Mr Daniel lived near the place on Boddington St, Mackay where Ms Blackburn was fatally stabbed on February 9, 2013; that he regularly carried knives; that he was known to commit home invasions; and that he was addicted to ice.

Mr Eberhardt also said Mr Daniel was six times more likely than other members of the Australian Aboriginal community to be linked to DNA found on Ms Blackburn's body and that he had made a confession to his friend Levi Blackman, among other implicating factors.

He argued the Crown case against Mr Peros was "totally circumstantial" and that "all that John Peros asks for is a fair go".

He suggested it was not possible for the jury of seven men and seven women (which includes two reserves), to find Mr Peros guilty of murder without reasonable doubt.

"Sometimes circumstantial cases can be compelling. This isn't that type of case," he said.

Mr Phillips had suggested Mr Daniel was a "red herring" being used to deflect blame from Mr Peros.

In response, Mr Eberhardt showed the court a photo of a shark with its teeth bared, arguing if Mr Daniel was a fish he was like the one in the photograph. …

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