Murder accused fronts court

In a recorded police interview shown to a Supreme Court jury, James Gibson denies hitting another man repeatedly with a baseball bat at a Tyers home.

“I was on the toilet. I walked out and found this bloke f***ed up, I tried to help him,” the then 18 year-old Traralgon man said three hours after he was arrested for allegedly attacking a 42 year-old in April last year.

But towards the end of the interview the court heard Gibson also say, ‘I hit him four or six times’ and then laugh.

The evidence was heard on the fourth day of the murder trial of Gibson, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder of Glenn Sullivan.

In his opening remarks prosecutor Campbell Thomson told the 13-panel jury at the Latrobe Valley Supreme Court that Gibson appeared lucid during the police interview and understood what was going on.

Mr Thomas said he would later call upon a psychiatrist who would say Gibson was “on balance” and “was not mentally impaired”.

“He also told the police at other parts of that interview that he didn’t like Mr Sullivan, and that the baseball bat was his, but he didn’t assault Mr Sullivan,” Mr Thomson said.

Defence barrister John Kelly told the jury Gibson’s comments raised the issue of whether it was him or somebody else who inflicted the injuries that led to Mr Sullivan’s death.

He said a different psychiatrist would provide evidence to say Gibson was suffering a mental impairment on the April evening, specifically the onset of schizophrenia.

“You will at the very least entertain grave doubts in relation, if not to whether or not he was involved in the assault upon Mr Sullivan, then at least in relation to what was going on in his mind on the evening of 3 April last year,” Mr Kelly said.

The court also heard from witness Adam Charleston, a former resident of the Tyers-Walhalla Road property where the alleged incident occurred.

Mr Charleston said he saw Gibson strike Mr Sullivan with a baseball bat screaming, ‘He killed my dad. I’ve seen it in the smoke’.

He explained further that Gibson’s father was killed in the Black Saturday fires in Traralgon South.

“James had it in both hands (baseball bat), and just flung it right back and just full contact,” Mr Charleston said.

“He had this look of disbelief and then sort of stood back over the top of Glenn and started hitting him again.”

The trial will continue this week, with two psychiatrists due to appear tomorrow.