UPDATE, TUESDAY 3PM: A 37-year-old Ballarat East man has been found not guilty of aggravated burglary and common assault in a second County Court trial.
The jury of six women and six men in the County Court trial sitting in Ballarat this week, took less than four hours to consider the evidence against Brock Levi Morgan, and clear him of both charges arising from an alleged incident in Alfredton on December 4, 2016.
A jury had previously been unable to reach a unanimous decision and deliver a verdict in a County Court trial in Ballarat in February this year.
In the earlier trial, Judge McInerney had subsequently instructed the jury to deliver a majority verdict (where 11 to one is accepted) but the jury was unable to do so and were discharged.
The second jury, in the trial before Judge Elizabeth Gaynor, were shown recorded evidence from the earlier trial with Judge Gaynor telling this jury they should treat the evidence the same as if the physical witnesses were in court.
Morgan, who was represented by defence barrister David Gray, remained standing while the verdict was announced and was then allowed out of the dock.
Before dismissing the jury members, Judge Gaynor thanked them for their time and attention during the trial.
EARLIER: A County Court jury has retired to consider its verdict in the second trial of a 37-year-old Ballarat man accused of aggravated burglary and common assault.
The jury of six women and six men retired at 2.18pm on Monday to consider the evidence against Brock Morgan, who has pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary and common assault from an alleged incident in Alfredton on December 4, 2016.
A Ballarat jury was previously unable to reach a unanimous decision after deliberating for six and a half hours in a County Court trial in February this year.
In the earlier trial, Judge McInerney had subsequently instructed the jury to deliver a majority verdict (where 11 to one is accepted) but the jury was again unable to do so and were discharged.
The second jury, in the trial before Judge Elizabeth Gaynor, have been shown recorded evidence from the earlier trial, including testimony from a fingerprint expert about Morgan’s “left palm print” found on a door architrave.
Judge Gaynor told the jury they should treat the evidence the same as if the physical witnesses were in court, and that jury members could “accept all, some or none” of the evidence.
She told the jury to consider each charge separately “in light of the evidence that applies to it” and to “dismiss any feelings of sympathy or prejudice,” telling the six men and six women they were “the judges of the facts.”
As part of the prosecution case, Crown prosecutor Bruce Nibbs said it was alleged that Morgan entered the house of the complainant who was known to him, aimed a sawn-off rifle at him … and kicked the man’s bedroom door when he attempted to hide.”
The court was told the complainant had put his hands and feet against the door and lay on the ground to stop the accused from entering, and in case he shot through the door. He had then called triple zero.
Mr Nibbs drew the jury’s attention to a witness who testified he “saw the accused in the house, carrying a gun.”
Defence barrister David Gray questioned the credibility of the alleged victim, saying there was no other evidence of a gun, or of Morgan entering the house, save for his account of what had happened.
Mr Gray also drew the jury’s attention to the “inconsistent statements”, and the “different description of events” from the complainant, and also that he had called 000, then hung up and called a friend before calling 000 again.
The jury were told to disregard the fact that Morgan did not give evidence in his defence.
“It proves nothing … you must not speculate,” Judge Gaynor said, reminding the jury the onus was entirely on the prosecution to prove the case.
The County Court will continue sitting in Ballarat on Tuesday.