Gerard Baden-Clay to stand trial for murder
Brisbane real estate identity Gerard Baden-Clay protested his innocence moments after being committed to stand trial for the alleged murder of his wife Allison.
Before a packed court room on Wednesday morning, Chief Magistrate Brendan Butler ordered Mr Baden-Clay face trial in the Supreme Court.
Gerard Baden-Clay's sister, Olivia Walton, speaks to the media outside court after her brother was committed to stand trial. Photo: Marissa Calligeros
‘‘I'm of the opinion the evidence is sufficient to put the defendant on trial on the offences charged,’’ Mr Butler said.
‘‘It will be for the jury to assess the evidence ...
‘‘That much is apparent by the fact that only 40 witnesses were examined out of some 285 witnesses whose statements have been tendered.’’
Marks on Gerard Baden-Clay's body
Police photographs of marks on Gerard Baden-Clay's body.
As Mr Butler formally committed Mr Baden-Clay to stand trial, he asked the 42-year-old real estate agent to stand.
‘‘You are charged that on or about the 19th day of April 2012 at Brisbane in the state of Queensland you murdered Allison June Baden-Clay,’’ Mr Butler said.
‘‘You are further charged that on or about the 19th of April 2012 at Brisbane in the state of Queensland you improperly interfered with a dead human body,’’ Mr Butler said.
‘‘I ask, do you wish to state anything in relation to the charges?’’
The court then heard the accused killer speak for the first time during the six-day committal hearing.
‘‘I am not guilty your honour,’’ Mr Baden-Clay said.
With that the court was adjourned and Mr Baden-Clay was led from the dock by corrective services officers.
Mrs Baden-Clay’s body was found on the banks of Kholo Creek, 14 kilometres from her home in the leafy western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield, 10 days after she vanished last year.
Her husband told police he left her watching The Footy Show when he went to bed and woke the next morning to find her missing.
During the committal hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, prosecutors said Mr Baden-Clay was embroiled in a messy affair with his former staffer Toni McHugh and had debts of more than $1 million when his wife disappeared.
Prosecutors alleged the affair and financial debt were motivating factors for murder.
There were emotional scenes outside the court on Wednesday as supporters of Mrs Baden-Clay embraced each other.
Outside the courthouse, Mr Baden-Clay's solicitor Darren Mahony said he was of the view that evidence against his client had been ‘‘significantly weakened’’ through the cross-examination of witnesses during the hearing.
‘‘I can indicate this, Mr Baden-Clay is eager to have this matter tried,’’ he said.
Mr Baden-Clay's sister Olivia Walton also addressed the media outside the court, saying she would stand by him.
‘‘I still believe that my brother Gerard is an innocent man,’’ she said.
‘‘I will continue to support him throughout this process.
‘‘One day the truth will be revealed.
‘‘Gerard is an innocent man.’’
Throughout the hearing, forensic experts said that marks on Mr Baden-Clay’s face and body were consistent with fingernail scratches, while police confirmed scientific investigators found traces of blood in the Baden-Clay’s Holden Captiva.
The court also heard Mrs Baden-Clay, a former beauty queen, suffered anxiety and depression intermittently and had been prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft.
Mr Baden-Clay’s defence team has previously suggested in court that Mrs Baden-Clay took her own life.
The prestige real estate agent has maintained his innocence since his arrest and incarceration last year.
No bail application was made on Wednesday.
Mr Baden-Clay will stand trial in the Supreme Court on a date to be set.
- with AAP