Trial over alleged murder of Canberra man Peter Keeley hears of accused’s fingerprints on tape

Fingerprints of one of the teens accused of the murder of Canberra man Peter Keeley have been detected on the tape used to bind him, a NSW court has heard on day two of the trial.

Three 17-year-old boys were accused of the murder of the 56-year-old, whose body was found in bushland at Broulee in the New South Wales south coast on February 2, 2020.

Two of those boys, now aged 19 and 20, face a judge-only trial in the NSW Supreme Court. They have pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to aggravated kidnapping.

Detective Greg Moon, a police witness called by the Crown, said the tape found on Mr Keeley’s ankles and hands detected fingerprints of one of the accused currently on trial.

Detective Moon said furrows in the sand near Mr Keeley’s parked car indicated that his body was likely dragged to nearby bushland, and the tape — which was “similar to what you see on cardboard boxes” — was applied to his body afterwards.

During the trial, senior constable Darren Simpson — the officer in charge of the police investigation — said Mr Keeley’s car contained bedding, as well as drug paraphernalia, syringes containing liquid, and pouches of cannabis and methamphetamine.

‘Blunt force’ used

Forensic pathologists Bernard I’Ons’ — an expert witness called by the Crown — and Johan Duflou, called by the Defence, gave evidence concurrently before the courts about Mr Keeley’s injuries and likely cause of death.

The court heard Dr I’Ons autopsy findings found Mr Keeley’s cause of death was a result of craniofacial trauma with airway obstruction.

Dr I’Ons said the injuries “…indicated the multifocality of the blows delivered to Peter Keeley,” and proceeded to list a number of bruises, lacerations and abrasions on his body.

He also detected “patterned injuries” which may have been caused by some sort of instrument including “…something as simple as a stick” or “…something like a shoe.”

Professor Duflou said most of the injuries on Mr Keeley’s body were caused by a “blunt force” and were “not trivial”, but he didn’t deem them to be “life threatening”.

He said the injuries sustained to Mr Keeley did not cause an obstruction on his airways, nor a significant loss of blood or extensive damage to the skull or brain that would result in his death.

He also said some of the abrasions on his skin may have been caused by ants releasing formic acid.

Both Dr I’Ons and professor Duflou are expected to continue giving evidence on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, defense barrister Clive Steirn SC told the court that he was attempting to have his client appear before the court in person for the remainder of the trial, after his client was deemed a close COVID-19 contact in prison and subject to the facility’s isolation requirements.

Mr Steirn’s client has been appearing via audio-visual link, while the second co-accused on trial has been appearing in person.

The joint case before Justice Michael Walton continues.

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