Three Residents Will Not Stand Trial Over Murder
Three deaf people were caught on CCTV using sign language to plot the murder of their housemates just moments before he fell to his death from a balcony, a court has heard.
Robert Wright, who was also deaf, died from head injuries after falling from the balcony of a second-floor apartment in Melbourne’s east on January 15 last year.
Three people, Georgia Fields, Jake Fairest and Warwick Toohey, are accused of murdering the 36-year-old, they were each found unfit to stand trial due to their intellectual disabilities and are subject to a special hearing.
Footage in the foyer and the lift of the building was analysed by an Auslan interpreter and the trio allegedly discussed the best way to kill Mr Wright.
'Ms Fields asked Mr Fairest 'you want dead or alive and how die?' Prosecutor Christopher Dane QC told the Victorian Supreme Court.
'Mr Fairest ... signs 'can strangle neck area, what do you think?'
'Mr Toohey signs to Mr Fairest 'strangle risky' and Ms Fields signs 'fall good, fall good', the prosecutor told the court.
Fields and Fariest have pleaded not guilty while Toohey has pleaded not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment.
The prosecution case is Mr Wright was pushed in a plan between his housemate and his two other friends,' Mr Dane told the court.
'Fairest and Toohey, the Crown says, lifted him up and forced his body over the railing of the balcony while Fields looked on.'
A neighbour will give evidence about how he saw Mr Wright holding onto the balcony ledge while in an unknown person held his wrist, said a prosecutor.
The person then lets go of the 36-year-old.
The special hearing before Justice Jane Dixon will continue on Wednesday.