'Bikie feud' blamed for father's bashing, death
MICHAEL Martin snr's bashing and violent murder had all the hallmarks of a "bikie feud" and nothing to do with his "diligent, industrious, and conscientious" son, a Supreme Court jury has heard.
Murder accused Michael Martin jnr's defence counsel Gabriel Wendler told the jury that trouble with outlaw motorcycle gangs offered the "most incisive account" of the events of April 7, when Martin snr and his friend Edmund Manning suffered life threatening injuries in a home invasion.
"Retribution came calling on that night and as a result he was assaulted and severely beaten up by these people," Mr Wendler said.
If not a bikie feud, one other alternative explanation was offered by Mr Wendler.
"Given both Manning and the deceased were hardcore alcoholics (perhaps) they had a fight and inflicted these injuries on each other," he said.
Adding weight to either theory was the fact both men at different times had told witnesses they "knew" who was responsible for the bashings but couldn't tell anyone.
Mr Wendler said the available evidence also did not "stack up" with the alleged murder admissions contained in a letter written by Martin to his wife Candace, which were "no more than the ravings of a person with a history of mental illness".
"You don't commit patricide over $27,000," he added, referring the amount of credit card debt Martin was in at the time of the murder.
He said if Martin's alleged murder of his father was so well planned, why would he use a sword or a knife, which was a "pretty messy way to do it".
"Is it really realistic? Does it pass the common sense test?"
The alleged murder weapon, a katana, had never been produced, he noted.
And "unless the laws of gravity were suspended in his favour" Mr Wendler asked how it was that Martin had no blood on his head, hands or feet on July 13 when he was found at the bottom of the Quarry Rd unit.
Mr Wendler characterised the Crown case as "suspicion, speculation... (and) conjecture".
He argued it wasn't a crime if Martin was "effectively wagering" that his father's lifestyle would end in premature death by taking out multiple life insurance policies on him.
"What he did was not illegal... it was opportunistic, maybe callous you would say, but it was not illegal."
Martin jnr was also described as a "conscientious" employee of Somerset Regional Council who was "proud of his contribution" and would often work a significant amount of overtime.
The trial continues.