The jury in the Helen Milner murder trial has resumed
deliberations this morning.
Milner, 50, denies murdering second husband Phil Nisbet, 47,
by slipping the sedative Phenergan into his evening meal and,
while he was heavily sedated, probably suffocating him.
She also accused of making his death, on May 4, 2009, look
like suicide in the hope of cashing in his $250,000 life
It was a case that police originally ruled as suicide.
Milner also denies attempting to kill Mr Nisbet twice on
April 15, 2009.
The Crown and defence both wrapped up their cases on Tuesday
after testimony over 11 days from more than 70 witnesses,
including family, friends, workmates, police, professionals
and medical experts.
The jury retired to begin its deliberations at 11am yesterday
after Justice David Gendall completed his summing up.
After six hours of behind-closed-doors discussions they were
sent home at 5pm, and resumed their deliberations at 9.30am
The jury is deciding whether Milner fatally poisoned her
second husband, motivated by money, or whether she has been a
victim of an orchestrated campaign of character
Justice Gendall told the jury to "ignore any comments anyone
may have made to you" about the high-profile case.
"You are the sole judges of the facts," he said.
He urged them to go about considering their decision without
feelings of prejudice or sympathy for Mr Nisbet or Milner.
"You must be sure your decision is not swayed by emotion."
The jury was reminded it was up to the Crown to prove
Milner's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
"You may not guess," Justice Gendall said.
The judge issued a question trail to each juror to be used as
a guide when coming to their verdicts.
The Crown must prove that Milner had drugged Mr Nisbet with
Phenergan without his knowledge and that those drugs caused
his death - by either being an operative or substantive cause
For a guilty verdict, the jury must also be sure that Milner
had "classic murderous intent" that she meant to kill him.
Justice Gendall also warned jury members that they could not
reach a conclusion out of a dislike for Milner.
The defence said Mr Nisbet took his own life.
In final arguments yesterday, the jury heard the case boils
down to a choice between scientific and circumstantial
Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway said it amounted to an
"overwhelming circumstantial case".
Defence counsel Rupert Glover, however, argued it was not a
case of murder by poison, but rather an assassination of
Milner's character by "poisonous testimony".
Instead of relying on circumstantial evidence, Mr Glover
urged the jury to look at the science.
- Kurt Bayer of APNZ