DAY FOUR OF COMMITTAL, NOVEMBER 26:
The witness who was to give evidence on Wednesday afternoon, that was later decided to be Thursday and then adjourned until Friday, refused to give evidence and be cross-examined on Friday.
"You can charge me, I don't care. I'm not saying anything," they told the court.
The Courier cannot detail who the witness was due to a suppression order.
After some delays, the proceedings continued when the lead detective on the case, Detective Senior Constable Jason Stewart, was cross-examined by several lawyers.
The detective, attached to the Missing Persons Squad in Melbourne, was questioned at length about the evidence used to charge the four accused with Ms Parfitt's murder.
The case will continue on Friday afternoon, with the lawyers for the four accused to make their submissions to Magistrate Ron Saines.
DAY THREE OF COMMITTAL, NOVEMBER 25:
The case was delayed getting underway today due to some technical difficulties in the morning.
When the magistrate did come to the bench, the prosecution requested if the next witness could give evidence tomorrow instead.
After consulting the defence lawyers of the four accused, Magistrate Saines granted this request but it has delayed the case and means it cannot proceed today.
The case was adjourned until Friday morning when the witness, whose name cannot be published, will give evidence and be cross-examined.
The police informant will also give evidence.
To wrap up the committal the prosecution and four defence lawyers will then make their submissions before Magistrate Saines will decide if the case will proceed to trial in the County Court.
DAY TWO OF COMMITTAL, NOVEMBER 24:
The hearing resumed at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Wednesday and all four accused have again appeared at the court via separate video links from custody.
So far the court has heard evidence from a forensic toxicologist at theVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine who analysed blood and other specimens for analysis.
Her analysis found various substances in Parfitt's blood, including acetone, but she told the court she could not determine whether they were the result of her metabolic processes when alive or if they formed post-mortem.
During cross-examination she said the levels were not so high as to indicate Parfitt had ingested the acetone but she could not rule it out.
The court also heard methylamphetamine and amphetamine were found in Parfitt's system.
A second witness, a forensic pathologist who undertook an autopsy on Parfitt's body after she was found in December 2020, also gave evidence.
She told the court that despite extensive testing, the 43-year-old's body was in such an advanced state of decomposition that she could not determine the cause of death.
She said the decomposition meant that any subtle injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, might have been erased - describing examples such as bruising, scratches or even deeper skin or soft tissue wounds.
"It is very difficult to ascertain whether something had happened with that degree of decomposition and breakdown of tissue," she said.
The state of decomposition also meant she could not determine if Parfitt had been a victim of blunt force trauma.
While she said breaks or fractures to the bones would have been evident during the post-mortem, she did not find evidence of these.
An expert in telecommunications for Telstra was also cross-examined by the lawyers.
He told the court his analysis of the information provided to him showed an accused's mobile phone pinged off three phone towers and he believed it put them in an area near Cochrane Drive for some time.
DAY ONE OF COMMITTAL, NOVEMBER 23:
The four people accused of murdering Ballarat mum Kobie Parfitt have faced court for the first day of a committal hearing today.
Renee Reynolds, Brendon Prestage, Shannon Jeffrey and Jacob Ford have appeared via seperate video links from custody for the hearing at the Ballarat Magistrates Court.
During the hearing, which is expected to take four days, the prosecution will present their case to a magistrate and the defence will be able to cross-examine witnesses.
The court heard from four witnesses on the first day.
This included a man who met Parfitt, on a night he cannot remember, at her house after being driven there by Jeffrey and Ford. He told the court he was with them as he wanted to be driven to buy cigarettes, but Jeffreys wanted to pick up some of her belongings from the Hickman Street house.
He also met Reynolds at the house and later saw Prestage when they were dropping off the belongings in his shed.
About a week after seeing the news of Ms Parfitt's disappearance on the news, he spoke to police several times before making a statement about the night on January 5.
A former female neighbour also gave evidence and was cross examined by the lawyers of the four accused.
The court heard she had made two statements to police in late 2020 after she saw an initial report about Ms Parfitt's disappearance in this newspaper.
The neighbour told the court she had moved into Hickman street just before Christmas in 2019 and during that time had witnessed cars going to and from the house at all hours and that Ms Parfitt had allegedly been the victim of family violence at the hands of her former partner.
She had heard verbal arguments from the house and one day when she was returning her escaped dog - who she said frequently escaped - she observed that Ms Parfitt was badly injured and had two black eyes.
Though she had not seen the partner at the house in the weeks leading up to the incident she went on to describe in her statement.
She told the court that on April 28, she was sitting on her front verandah having a cup of coffee when she saw a 4wd pull up over her driveway.
She noticed it as it had parked across her driveway and the driver, Reynolds, had jumped out of the car before entering Ms Parfitt's home.
"She was mouthing words to me but I couldn't lip read so I went closer to the car," the neighbour told the court.
She said Parfitt told her she was scared as "they were going to put her in a boot" but was too afraid to call police in case "they would find out it was her" who called.
The court heard that while she, Ford and later Jeffrey sat out the front of her house for smoke, Parfitt "sat on the steps, not engaging - she kept her head down and drank her coffee".
She later watched on her security cameras as Parfitt resumed her seat in the car, with Reynolds following and jumping in the driver's seat. Ford opened the gate to the house and the car was driven around the back.
"Jacob shut the gate and that was the last time I saw them," the neighbour said, adding her family went out for a few hours afterwards and when they returned the house was "really dark and quiet".
Parfitt, 43, was last seen alive at a property on Hickman Street, Ballarat, on April 28 last year.
Her remains were found down a mine shaft in Snake Valley on December 22 by officers searching the area in relation to the mother's disappearance.
The neighbour's partner was also questioned about his recollections from that day, as was Parfitt's former partner.
They were in a relationship from 2016 until early 2020 and he detailed how she had been increasingly fearful for her welfare in the weeks before she went missing.
While the court heard there was an alleged history of family violence in the relationship, which escalated between 2018 and 2019 and involved numerous police attendances, he left the Hickman Street home in January 2020.
The court heard the relationship had gone downhill due to allegations thrown both ways about stealing, though despite him leaving the house, Parfitt had been "imploring" him for help around March and April last year but he "didn't believe her" continued explanations of her fears and pleas for help.
The court heard Parfitt's fear was exacerbated by her receiving threatening phone calls from numerous people.
Parfitt sent him a desperate message on April 24, saying she needed "to get out of the house ASAP" as she had been "warned on what's being planned soon" and that Jeffrey was behind it.
This was not the first time she had mentioned being afraid of Jeffrey.
He said he last saw Parfitt on April 25, as she was packing up the house with Reynolds, when he responded to one request to help her fix security cameras on her house.
The four accused have each been charged with one count of murder but are contesting the charges.
At the conclusion of the committal, Magistrate Ron Saines will decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial in the County Court of Victoria.
The Courier will continue to provide updates throughout the four-day hearing.
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