Green Ford seen at Vic murder site: court

Amber Wilson

A mystery green Ford Falcon was seen driving away from a car park where James Russouw's body lay stabbed inside his burning Jeep, a Melbourne court has been told.

Recreational cannabis smoker and sometimes heroin user Shane Bartlett had turned up by chance on the evening of the 2008 murder at East Burwood Reserve simply to "smoke cones and bongs" at a peaceful location.

Mr Bartlett, who had no connection to Mr Russouw or his associates, said he lived with his mother at the time so would occasionally find quiet spots to do drugs.

The car fanatic and former wrecking yard worker said he noticed the Falcon was "nice looking" with perhaps a stripe down the side, but had "nothing special about it".

He said he had to move let the green car get past him.

As he entered the car park, he saw Mr Russouw's Jeep was on fire and went to investigate, getting close enough to feel the heat.

But he didn't stay for long, not wanting to "involve" himself.

"Because I had marijuana on me, I decided to get the hell out of there," he told the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday.

However when he heard news that a body had been inside the car, he quickly told police what he'd seen, as he was worried "about being implicated".

Christopher Lavery, 31, is standing trial for killing Mr Russouw, a 24-year-old cannabis dealer, who was found stabbed in the neck, his body set alight inside his Jeep on the night of March 7, 2008.

Throughout the trial, several references have been made to Lavery's white Honda vehicles, but there has been no mention previously of a green Ford Falcon.

Mr Russouw's best friend also gave evidence on Wednesday, saying he underwent a lie detector test following his mate's death in an attempt to prove he didn't know where Mr Russouw was sourcing cannabis that evening.

He also also rejected suggestions the pair had a "business-friendship" relationship or that he would accompany Mr Russouw on deals "for protection".

The trial continues.