Body in barrel murderer to appeal conviction

Norman Desmond Cheney's remains were found in a barrel near Caboolture.
Norman Desmond Cheney's remains were found in a barrel near Caboolture.

A CONVICTED murderer has argued a trial judge erred in directions to a jury about what evidence they could use to prove he intended to kill his mate before concreting him into a 44-gallon barrel at Esk.

Anthony Charles Oliver has always maintained he killed Norman Desmond Cheney in self-defence, claiming his mate poured petrol over him and tried to set him alight while they were in a car at Somerset Dam west of Brisbane, on December 20, 2010.

Cheney had a gunshot wound in the back of the head and had a neck wound when bushwalkers found the barrel, with face and legs exposed, in the Caboolture River on February 5, 2011.

The Crown suggested during closing addresses that Oliver wanted Mr Cheney out of the picture so he could continue his three-year affair with wife Trichelle Cheney.

Oliver, who lived on the Sunshine Coast on and off for years, yesterday appealed his murder conviction in the Queensland Court of Appeal.

His barrister Peter Morrissey told the court the sufficiency of the judge's direction depended on "whether or not there is a viable case of manslaughter here as an alternative to murder".

"It's our case that (the judge) should have directed the jury they could not safely use the lies and other conduct to infer the outcome was conscious of having an intention to kill Mr Cheney," he said.

Norman Desmond Cheney
Norman Desmond Cheney

Justice Catherine Holmes questioned whether it was possible to look at the conduct separately to lies.

"When you've got a body that's got a neck wound and a bullet wound to the head, putting it in the barrel with a bit of concrete might indicate a desire to conceal the nature of the death which might tend to murder rather than manslaughter," she said.

"Whereas lying about when you last saw him is arguably neutral."

Mr Morrissey argued it was necessary because the trial judge had "scrupulously listed the conduct that was said to constitute admissions by conduct as compared to the lies" in this case.

He said Oliver claimed he took the gun and fired it "while he was in a petrol-soaked panic" and the jury's guilty verdict did not negate that possibility.

Mr Morrissey said he believed the direction would "radically increase the likelihood of acquittal for murder, bar a conviction on the relevantly available offence of manslaughter".

The court has reserved its decision. - APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  anthony charles oliver esk murder

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