Three people accused of killing a Sunshine Coast man whose body went through a woodchipper almost four years ago allegedly concocted a “falsehood” about his death being an accident and were caught on police intercepts talking about “getting their story straight”, a court has heard.
- The court heard police have more than 1,000 hours of surveillance recordings of the trio
- Peter Koenig’s lawyer said the case is “largely circumstantial”
- Justice Frances Williams denied bail to all three accused
Peter Koenig, Gregory Roser, and Sharon Graham have each been charged with the murder of Bruce Saunders in Gympie in November 2017.
The trio are also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Prosecutors have alleged Ms Graham had plotted with Mr Koenig and Mr Roser for the men to kill Mr Saunders while they cleared vegetation together at a Goomboorian property.
During a bail hearing in Brisbane on Tuesday, the Supreme Court was told Ms Graham allegedly had financial motivation for the murder as she was set to benefit from Mr Saunders’ life insurance.
The court heard police allegedly had incriminating evidence against the trio, which was picked up in more than “1,000 hours” of surveillance recordings made after Mr Saunders’ death, which they are still sifting through.
Lawyers for the three accused argued their clients should be released on bail, citing a lack of direct evidence against them.
John McInnes, who is representing Mr Roser, told the court there were “no explicit admissions” alleged to have been made by his client in the police surveillance.
“The case is largely circumstantial or completely so in the case of Mr Roser,” he said.
A police investigator at the place where Mr Saunders was found dead.(Supplied: Queensland Police Service
Mr Koenig’s lawyer, Simon Lewis, told the court the “vast majority” of the evidence surrounding the alleged recorded conversations did not relate to his client.
“He wasn’t involved in them, he wasn’t present for them,” Mr Lewis said.
Franklin Richards, who is defending Ms Graham, told the court that claims she stood to gain from Mr Saunders’ death were “mere allegations” that were untested.
“There is very little evidence in my submission that makes the case against Ms Graham one of strength,” he said.
All three lawyers argued their clients were not a flight risk, as they had spent six months in the community after Mr Saunders’ death and had not tried to flee before being arrested.
Crown prosecutor Philip McCarthy opposed bail, telling the court it was “self-evident” from their conduct after the death that they were an unacceptable risk of reoffending and interfering with witnesses.
“Their conduct reveals a preparedness, in the crown’s submission, to collaborate and concoct evidence to assist them in escaping detection of the authorities,” he said.
Mr McCarthy told the court evidence extracted from the police surveillance allegedly heard the group discussing “getting their story straight” and “speaking in code” about the death.
“The stories given to the authorities are a falsehood and the inference that can be drawn is they were complicit,” he said.
Justice Frances Williams denied bail for the trio, telling the court it was a “complicated circumstantial case” and the risk of interfering with witnesses could not be ameliorated.