The stacks of emails, recordings, witness statements and maps collated by prosecutors aren't the test of whether former NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, his son, and then-ministerial colleague Ian Macdonald are guilty of a multi-million-dollar conspiracy, a court's been told
"It's the quality," Maurice Neil QC said on Wednesday.
"And the capacity of that evidence, we say, fails."
Mr Neil, representing Obeid's son Moses in the trio's marathon NSW Supreme Court trial, said prosecutors had failed to discount all reasonable hypotheses consistent with innocence over the Obeids' deal to sell their rural Cherrydale Park property in the Bylong Valley.
Moses, 51, his father, 77 and Macdonald, 71, have pleaded not guilty to conspiring for Macdonald to wilfully engage in misconduct as a minister between 2007 and 2009.
Macdonald, who held the NSW mineral resources portfolio, allegedly breached impartiality and confidentiality as a government official by causing a coal release area to be created on Mount Penny, where Cherrydale Park was located.
After friends bought neighbouring properties, the Obeids allegedly struck a $60 million deal with a mining company.
But Mr Neil, wrapping up his closing address on Wednesday, said the Obeids had sought to extend their rural holdings to enhance their agricultural viability of Cherrydale Park.
Moses had also learnt coal giant Anglo American may be moving in on the area, the court heard.
"The Obeids ... were anxious on one view, but they were not over-anxious," he said.
The arrangements put together by the Obeids to negotiate with a smaller coal company, Cascade, were "perhaps complex but not unusual".
"It had nothing to do with Mr Macdonald, nothing to do with any supposed conspiracy," Mr Neil said.
The Crown alleges the Obeids' interest in acquiring neighbouring properties coincided with inside information coming from Macdonald that the Mt Penny coal release area would be included in an upcoming expression of interest process.
Lies allegedly told by Moses to a journalist investigating the sale were not signs of "consciousness of guilt" and should be put to one side, Mr Neil said.
The judge-alone trial, which began in February 2020, was meant to run for six months, only to suffer long delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Justice Elizabeth Fullerton on Wednesday reserved her verdicts to a later date.