Murderer’s appeal bid thrown out
In the final moments of his life, Michael McCabe was beaten, bound and hauled into the back of a car before he was brutally murdered.
Now, six years after his untimely death, a court has dismissed the appeal of one of the men serving a life sentence for his murder.
The 25-year-old's decomposing body was found a month after he disappeared in August 2015, dumped in an isolated area about 70km from Townsville.
After a series of false starts and retrials, Jason Douglas Taylor and Brent Malcolm Huxley were convicted of his murder.
Queensland's Court of Appeal unanimously quashed Taylor's bid earlier this month to have the matter retried, refuting claims the jury's verdict was unreasonable and that there were multiple miscarriages of justice in his original trial.
Taylor was with Huxley, and others, on August 15, 2015, when Mr McCabe was "violently assaulted".
Court documents said the group punched, kicked and stomped on the 25-year-old victim at a Townsville unit before they hauled him into the boot of a Holden Commodore.
In the final moments of his life, Mr McCabe was driven along the winding Mount Spec Rd to the scene of his murder, where Taylor and Huxley threw him down an embankment and lobbed large rocks at him.
The pair returned to the scene the next day.
When Mr McCabe's body was found a month after his death, he was so badly decomposed that a pathologist could not determine the exact cause of death, court documents say.
Despite initially claiming he had no involvement in the killing, in several interviews with police Taylor divulged more and more information and eventually admitted that he was with Huxley as the rocks were thrown at Mr McCabe.
Evidence from a man who shared a prison cell with Taylor eventually helped secure his murder conviction after it painted a very different picture of what role he played in the death.
The prisoner was given a discount on his sentence after he told police Taylor confessed to him behind bars and told him "I'll never forget the look on his face when I threw the last rock. He stopped making noises and I knew he was dead by the look on his face".
In his appeal, Taylor argued this evidence should have been excluded from the trial and that the jury should have "harboured doubts about its truthfulness", considering the prisoner's history of dishonesty offences and that he benefited from a deduction to his sentence.
Appeal judge Justice Hugh Fraser found it was "reasonably open" for the jury to determine that Taylor was guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, of murder even without the evidence of the prison confession.
Justice Fraser also rejected a number of arguments on the appeal that there were multiple miscarriages of justice.
Court of Appeal judges Justice Debra Mullins and Justice Peter Applegarth unanimously agreed with the findings of Justice Fraser and the appeal was dismissed.
Originally published as Murderer's appeal bid thrown out