A man arrested for murder while wearing a jumper with the victim’s blood was covering for the true killer, the accused man’s barrister has told a jury.
Fredon Laith Botrus, 20, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Alfredo Isho, who was knifed while seated and gowned at Bossley Park’s Classico Hair Studio on January 11, 2019.
During a two-week NSW Supreme Court trial, witnesses have recalled seeing a helmet-wearing assailant enter the rear of the barbershop and plunge a knife into Mr Isho’s chest about 12.30pm.
That assailant was tracked riding a motorbike to the Botrus family home, where the bike was found stripped of parts in the garage.
The Crown said the jumper, encrypted messages found on Botrus’ phone and the location of the bike showed he was the killer .
But barrister Sam Pararajasingham, in his closing address on Tuesday, urged jurors to consider how the circumstances in which police came to observe Botrus in the jumper were “consistent with him playing a role other than that of him being the murderer”.
Gaps in CCTV coverage meant the true killer had “every opportunity” to dump the bike in the Botrus family’s garage, strip it of parts and escape, he said.
The jury has heard several other young men had access to the garage and rode the bike from time to time.
Jurors had seven other reasons to entertain doubt, including deficiencies in the police investigation and the absence of a motive, Mr Pararajasingham said
Botrus denies authoring texts found on his phone sent through encrypted application wickr on the day of the murder, stating “I went and anked him” (sic).
The jury has heard, before the murder, the same wickr account received a message that said, in effect: “Yo brother there’s a dog at the hairdresser’s.”
But Botrus’ barrister said prosecutors hadn’t properly explored wickr’s multiple access mechanism and been unable to say how many phones were logged into the account at the time of the murder.
“The deficiencies in the investigation raise very real concerns about the evidence presented and raise very real concerns about what else has not been investigated,” Mr Pararajasingham said.
“Does that provide you a sound basis to return a guilty verdict?”
Crown prosecutor Michael Clark urged the jury to focus on evidence, including the blood on Botrus’ jumper and the fact he had the phone on him when arrested by police 150 minutes after the murder.
“There is no dispute that it was his phone,” he said.
It stood to reason, Mr Clark said, that on the day of the murder, Botrus decided to wear a helmet to disguise himself and ride uncharacteristically carefully so as not to fall off and get caught.
“The Crown doesn’t have to exclude every hypothesis – only those that are rational or reasonable,” he said.
The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Wednesday afternoon.
Australian Associated Press