Brenden Bennetts appeals murder conviction
QUEENSLAND schoolgirl Jayde Kendall’s killer has appealed his conviction on the grounds unlawfully obtained police conversations and statements were used during his trial.
A Brisbane Supreme Court jury last year found Brenden Bennetts guilty of killing the 16-year-old and dumping her body in a field on the outskirts of Gatton in 2015.
Jayde was last seen getting into his red Toyota Corolla after school about 3.20pm on Friday, August 14.
Her body was discovered 13 days later.
In the Queensland Court of Appeal on Tuesday, Bennetts’ legal team argued the judge made an error when she allowed initial statements and conversations with police to be used during his trial.
Michael Copley QC said the information had been illegally obtained because he was already considered a suspect, but had not been warned as such.
Mr Copley said officers’ claims he was originally just a witness were lies.
“I know that they gave sworn evidence, all of three of them, that that’s the case,” he said.
“But I say that one has to look at everything that they then knew, what they then discovered and how they spoke with and/or treated him after he was in their company.”
Mr Copley said by the time police started the formal interview, once he was considered a suspect, officers had already taken his mobile phone, car and laptop.
They had also taken his fingerprints and swabbed him for DNA. But crown prosecutor Vicki Loury QC said there was no evidence to suggest police considered Bennetts a suspect when he first spoke to officers and provided statements.
Ms Loury said at the time Jayde’s body had not been found and she was simply a missing person.
“The purpose of the questioning was designed to determine where she (Jayde) was, which is what the trial judge found,” she said.
“All the evidence was consistent with Jayde Kendall having left town of her own accord.” Mr Copley said if the Queensland Court of Appeal found in favour of Bennetts, his conviction should be set aside and a retrial ordered.
“You can’t be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt yourselves, of guilt,” he said, referring to the fact it was a circumstantial case.
But Ms Loury said even if the trial judge had erred and the initial statements and conversations with police should have been excluded, there was enough evidence to uphold Bennett’s conviction.
The Queensland Court of Appeal reserved its decision to a later date.
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