Sailmaker Tauri Litchfield was under no “control” of his accused teenage killers when he “chose to run” in the lead up to his death, a lawyer for one youth submitted this afternoon as the murder trial starts drawing to a close.
NSW barrister Scott Corish was giving closing submissions in the Perth Children’s Court trial of five teenage boys fighting murder charges.
It is alleged they pursued Mr Litchfield after he was assaulted and before he fell or tripped and struck his head on bitumen in March last year.
The prosecution has submitted the boys pursued the intoxicated 28-year-old moments after he was involved in an exchange with one of the boys that saw him punched to the head, and that they could have foreseen their actions put his life in danger as he fled over Pinjarra Road in Mandurah despite traffic and tripped or fell over a ledge in a carpark.
Today, Mr Corish said there was no dispute his 14-year-old client had touched Mr Litchfield’s pocket in the initial exchange and had punched him to the jaw after Mr Litchfield responded by slapping him over the back of the head. But he suggested the punch was not unprovoked given it followed a “demeaning” form of corporal punishment that had “unsurprisingly” angered the teenager.
Mr Corish disputed suggestions his client and the others “shepherded” or “herded” Mr Litchfield.
“Mr Litchfield chose to run in that direction,” he said.
“Whatever choice Mr Litchfield made at that point on the other side of the road ... there was no one ushering, encouraging him, pointing him, heading him in any particular direction.”
Mr Corish suggested CCTV footage of the boys walking along the road near Mr Litchfield had, through “invention” or “delusion”, been allocated a “sinister” explanation when in reality they were a “group of smartly dressed indigenous kids walking from the (Mandurah) crab festival ... taking the most direct route to the railway station”.
“It’s not a crime to be an indigenous child out with your friends heading to a train station,” Mr Corish submitted.
Defence teams will continue their closing submissions tomorrow.