Liam Jurrah trial, Day 5, morning:
By KIERAN FINNANE
In face of strong cross-examination witness Essau Marshall (pictured) maintained that he saw Liam Jurrah attack Basil Jurrah with a machete. He showed the court how Mr Jurrah was holding the weapon, raising his arms and gripping both hands. He described the action as “pounding” . He said Basil Jurrah was “laying down” while this happened (Basil Jurrah himself gave evidence that he was sitting, hunched forward, although other witnesses have described him as lying down.)
In cross-examination Mr Marshall added the detail that while Liam Jurrah was allegedly pounding the victim, he was “celebrating, saying BJ, BJ, BJ”. The word “celebrating” was apparently also used in his witness statement.
Jon Tippett QC for Liam Jurrah put to Mr Marshall that he had not seen this at all. He said he had not told any of this to police on the night. According to the police statement, said Mr Tippett, Mr Marshall had told them that Liam Jurrah was involved in the assault but he could not state his exact involvement.
Mr Marshall, however, remained adamant that he had told police: “I seen it, it’s written down in my statement,” he said, obviously referring to his witness statement, not to the police notes from the night. To further challenges from Mr Tippett, he answered repeatedly: “I saw what I saw.” The 29-year-old from Yuemdumu, educated at Kormilda College, gave his evidence without assistance from an interpreter, in a loud clear voice and without hesitation.
Mr Tippet referred to what Mr Marshall had said at the committal hearing: he had spoken to police on the night and he was the first (after the assault on Basil Jurrah) to do so. In court today Mr Marshall said he couldn’t remember this.
He also gave evidence today that nobody had brought machetes, or indeed any weapons, from Hidden Valley, while at committal he had said he couldn’t remember whether they had or not. Today he said the only weapons he and his companions, including Basil Jurrah, had on arriving at Little Sisters were rocks that they picked up in the Todd River in readiness for “self-defence”. He also said that when he got to the camp one of his relatives gave him a nulla nulla. He said he was “prepared” to defend himself and his two cousins – Basil Jurrah and Allan Collins. The latter has given his evidence in chief this morning, with the assistance of an interpreter and nursing a sore jaw, and will be cross-examined this afternoon.
Before evidence got underway this morning Chief Justice Trevor Riley spoke to the jury about a photo appearing in today’s Northern Territory News, showing an injured Basil Jurrah in a hospital bed. He told the jury that the photo should never have been published and reminded them that only matters from inside the courtroom should be part of their considerations.
PHOTO: Mr Tippett QC (right) with instructing solicitor John McBride.