Street fight murderer seeks downgraded sentence

Brandon Matthews.
Brandon Matthews. Paula Matthews

A NORTH Ipswich man who was jailed for life for the murder of Gladstone teen Brandon Matthews during a street fight in 2012 has appealed his conviction in the state's highest court.

Zachary Michael Moloney, 24, claims his murder conviction in 2013 was unreasonable and it should be set aside and replaced with a manslaughter conviction.

Moloney was found guilty of murdering Mr Matthews, 18, but not guilty of murdering East Ipswich man, Brad Girling, 22, during the same fight in Hill Street, North Ipswich.

The fight broke out over a $50 loan.

Another man, Luke Michael Jackson, 21, was also charged with the murders but was found not guilty during his 2013 trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Moloney's defence barrister Soraya Ryan told the Queensland Court of Appeal on Friday the order in which the trial judge directed the jury was critical.

She said the trial judge's definition of murder to the jury and subsequent redirection in response to their question, was flawed.

Ms Ryan said the application hinged on the elements a jury must consider when determining a murder charge, namely that the person in question is dead, it was unlawful and the accused intended to kill the person.

"This application is based on the unlawful and intention elements," she said.

"Only after a jury had discarded self defence can they consider intention.

"It is our submission that is unreasonable to conclude that Moloney could go from self defence after being assaulted by Mr Girling, to a murderous intent towards Mr Matthews in a matter of seconds.

"The whole tragic event had a timeline of less than five minutes and the actual fight lasted less than a minute."

Ms Ryan said Moloney had only reacted in self defence during the street brawl.

"He was the one being pursued," she said.

"He lashed out, in the moment, in self defence and while he was retreating.

"He was frank with police about what had occurred and was even the one who called the ambulance.

"That is not the act of someone who is in a murderous rage."

Crown prosecutor Anthony Moynihan told the court the application boiled down to whether the conviction was unreasonable and whether Moloney had intended to kill.

He said the trial was conducted fairly, the jury understood their responsibilities and there had been no miscarriage of justice.

"He armed himself with a boning knife before going to the meeting and he made it pretty clear in text messages he was ready for a fight," he said.

"He was armed and Mr Matthews was not.

"He knew that by attacking Mr Matthews with the knife it would do him harm."

Mr Moynihan said Moloney at least had the intention to cause Mr Matthews grievous bodily harm while attacking him with a knife, which was an element of murder the jury needed to consider.

The Court of Appeal reserved its decision.


Topics:  court crime editors picks gladstone ipswich murder

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