Alleged murderers Richard Meerdink and Jason Pearce Wednesday enter the Maryborough Supreme Court, where both men have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wayne Ruks in St Mary's Catholic Church grounds in July 2008.
Alleged murderers Richard Meerdink and Jason Pearce Wednesday enter the Maryborough Supreme Court, where both men have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wayne Ruks in St Mary's Catholic Church grounds in July 2008. Alistair Brightman

Judgement day

WAYNE Ruks's death in the St Mary's Catholic Church grounds last year was the result of nothing more than an “unfortunate drunken escapade”.

That's the opinion of defence counsel Greg McGuire, who Wednesday presented his closing address to a murder trial jury in the Maryborough Supreme Court.

Jason Andrew Pearce, 38, and Richard John Meerdink, 40, have pleaded not guilty to murdering 45-year-old Mr Ruks on the night of July 3, 2008.

The jury was expected to start deliberating on the men's fate Thursday.

In his closing address yesterday Mr McGuire - Pearce's defence counsel - said the altercation between three men in the churchgrounds was an “unfortunate drunken escapade” and Mr Ruks' death was an “extraordinarily unforseen circumstance”. He slammed some of Crown Prosecutor Greg Cummings' observations about the CCTV footage of the churchyard altercation as “outrageous accusations” and “disingenuous nonsense”.

“ ... (Mr Ruks) bled to death because of how intoxicated he was and his general state of health,” he said.

During the trial the court has heard that the altercation occurred after an intoxicated Mr Ruks made a sexual advance on Pearce.

In an interview played to the court Pearce said Mr Ruks grabbed his crotch.

This alleged contact - which cannot be seen in the CCTV footage - was apparently exacerbated by the fact that Pearce said he was “f***ed with as a kid”.

The CCTV footage was described as the “elephant in the corner of the room” by Meerdink's defence counsel Frank Richards.

He said he believed the quality of the footage was poor and some of the scenes were “simply of no value”.

Mr Richards did point out to the jury, however, that in the footage the two men seemed in good spirits before the altercation with Mr Ruks.

“You might think that the farthest thing from their minds was to seriously harm anyone.”

Pearce has indicated that he would plead guilty to manslaughter.

Read more about the trial...

Jury back to churchyard tape
Jury sees tape of churchyard fight again
Alleged killers' fate known soon
DNA puts accused at murder scene
Trial starts for churchyard murder

Read more about the murder at St Mary's Catholic Church.


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