Street cleaner evidence a strange twist in robbery trial
The ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Graham Tidy
The evidence of a deceased street cleaner could help determine the strength of crucial DNA evidence in an alleged $152,000 cash-van heist, during which a guard was gunned down outside the Mawson Club.
Mark Anthony Munro, 52, is on trial over a violent armed robbery in broad daylight in May 2004, in which he and another man, Sam John Melkie, allegedly took the cash from a Chubb armoured van.
During the heist, Munro allegedly shot a security guard with a shotgun, leaving pellets lodged in over 16 entry points across his body.
Munro and Melkie were tracked down by police after cigarette butts matching the pair's DNA profiles were found discarded at the bus stop across the road from the club.
Those cigarette butts are now ''crucial'' to the crown's case, the Supreme Court has heard.
But on Thursday, the evidence of a recently deceased street cleaner, who cleaned around Mawson shops at the time of the crime, was thrown into the spotlight.
The cleaner's statement could help rule out the possibility that the cigarette butts were dropped in the ''one day or 100 days'' prior to the offence.
It detailed his typical cleaning plan of the Mawson precinct, which included the area where the cigarette butts were dropped, the court heard.
The cleaner's supervisor told the court the cleaner was ''professional'', loyal to the cleaning company, and a man who took who took great pride in his work.
But defence barrister Ken Archer sought to have the statement excluded from evidence, saying its value was outweighed by the unfair prejudice against his client.
Mr Archer said the statement was taken in 2010, six years after the alleged robbery, once the prosecution realised there was a potential gap in their case.
He said the circumstances of the police statement would have required the cleaner to voluntarily say he had been neglectful of his duties, or that his employer had failed in its supervision of him and his work.
The Crown prosecutor Mark Fernandez said there was nothing to indicate that the elderly cleaner had lost his memory, and that his statement had been corroborated.
Acting Justice John Nield decided to admit the statement into evidence, despite concerns about the circumstances in which it was taken.
The trial continues on Tuesday.