Jury’s time to decide

ON TRIAL: Kris Mitchison in front of Newcastle courthouse He is one of three people charged over the death of Stephen MacLeod. Picture: Jonathan CarrollA NEWCASTLE Supreme Courtjury has begun deliberationsas to whether Kris Mitchison, his mother Caron Anne Wells and friend Ricky Whelan should be held responsible for the death of Stephen MacLeod, 10 days after an altercation with him at a home in East Maitland.

Mr MacLeod, 50,passed away in John Hunter Hospital because of ableed in anartery in the back of his brain.

The trio have been charged with murder after they allegedly formed a “joint criminal enterprise” to bash Mr MacLeod at 4amon March 16, 2014.

The prosecution alleges the attack waspayback, after thetwo men arrived at the Kenneth Street home of Ms Wellsto find her “hysterical” and withtwo black eyes, pleading with them to remove Mr MacLeod from the house.

“What more do you reckon an innocent man would do?” was the question posed to the jury by Grant Brady,defence barrister for Kris Mitchison, as he began closing submissions on Tuesday.

He said his client enteredthe witness box even though he could have avoidedcross examination by an“exceptionally” experienced crown prosecutor.

Mr Brady said thecharacter evidence called during the trial had showed that Mr Mitchison was not aggressive or violent despite hisdifficult upbringing.

He said his client was anhonest man who would“call a spade a spade”and was even“trying to stamp out violence in his footy club.”

He admitted a plan to move Mr MacLeod along went “south”, but argued there was no evidence his client contributed to the injuries he suffered.

John Fitzgerald, the defence barrister for Ms Wells, was scathing of the evidence against her in his closing address.

He said he hadgrave misgivingsabout contradictions inthe testimonyofKaren Morris,a“linchpin witness”andneighbour of his client.

Ms Morris claimed she saw Ms Wells deliver an“evil” kick toMr MacLeod while he lay groaning on the floor.

Mr Fitzgerald criticizedher evidenceas“colourful” and“outlandish” when she described seeing Mr MacLeod two days later, with one eye bulging out of his head and his pupil“moving all about the place uncontrollably”.