Jury retires in Gable Tostee murder trial

The Supreme Court jury hearing the the murder trial of Gold Coast man Gable Tostee has retired to consider its verdict.

Tostee, 30, stood trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court for six days after pleading not guilty to the murder of New Zealand woman Warriena Wright.

Ms Wright fell to her death in the early hours of August 8, 2014 after Tostee allegedly intimidated her so greatly she felt the only way to escape was by climbing over the balcony railing of his 14th floor Surfers Paradise apartment.

A jury of six men and six women retired at 12.35pm on Monday to deliberate whether to convict Tostee of murder or manslaughter or to acquit him on both charges.

An audio recording Tostee made on his mobile phone that captured the violent struggle between the pair and Ms Wright's eventual death has been the key piece of evidence in the trial.

It is not known why Tostee made the recording.

Prosecutor Glen Cash had argued Tostee could be heard choking Ms Wright for up to 45 seconds on the recording, something the defence disputes, before he locked her out on the balcony, cutting off her only means of escape.

"Just let me go home, just let me go home," Ms Wright said in the recording.

"I would but you've been a bad girl," Tostee replied.

Mr Cash said Ms Wright was experiencing such terror, bordering on hysteria, that it was foreseeable she would have climbed over the balcony railing to escape.

But defence barrister Saul Holt argued Ms Wright, who was three times over the legal driving limit, said and did things in the lead-up to the her clash with Tostee that were irrational beyond overly drunkenness.

Mr Holt said Tostee acted in "self defence" to remove the disorderly Ms Wright from his apartment and putting her on the balcony was an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

A judge earlier told the jury they cannot find Tostee, 30, guilty of murder just because he called a lawyer and left via the basement after Ms Wright died.

He also walked around the Gold Coast entertainment precinct for about an hour and bought a pizza before calling his father Gray Tostee to pick him up.

Justice John Byrne told the jury in his directions on Monday they could not find Tostee guilty just because they think the should have behaved differently.

"It would be wrong for you to use any of the evidence... as a base for the prosecution for murder," Justice Byrne said.

Justice Byrne quoted Hollywood director Billy Wilder to warn the jury "hindsight is always twenty-twenty".

He said they must not judge Tostee's actions on that fatal night if he had the benefit of safety and time to make decisions.

The court has heard the jury can only find Tostee guilty of murder if they are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he had the intention to cause her grievous bodily harm, which the prosecution alleges happened when he choked her for up to 45 seconds.

A guilty verdict of manslaughter is also available to the jury if they find he unlawfully killed Ms Wright but did not have the intention to cause her grevious bodily harm.

Audio recording is key

Earlier today, Justice John Byrne resumed his directions to the jury. Tostee has pleaded not guilty to the murder of New Zealand tourist Wright, who fell to her death.

Courier-Mail journalist Greg Stolz has tweeted that the judge told the court today the defence argued that this was as weak a prosecution case as might be seen, and that the act of locking Warriena on his balcony was an act of de-escalation, not intimidation.

It is not alleged Tostee threw or pushed Wright but that he intimidated her so greatly, she felt the only way to escape was to climb down from the locked balcony of his 14th floor Surfers Paradise apartment. The court has heard the 26-year-old attacked Tostee with rocks in his own home, where they had spent a few hours drinking and having sex after meeting on dating app Tinder.

Gable Tostee arrives at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Photo / AAP
Gable Tostee arrives at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Photo / AAP

An audio recording Tostee made on his mobile phone captured sounds of the physical struggle between the pair and Wright's eventual death. Defence barrister Saul Holt has disputed the prosecution's claim Tostee choked Ms Wright, who had been "massively drunk" and "out of control" that night.

Holt said Tostee was patient, even gentlemanly, towards the erratic Wright in the lead-up to the struggle and de-escalated the situation by locking her out on the balcony. He said it was not foreseeable Ms Wright would climb over the railing to certain death just seconds later but that showed how irrational she was.

Prosecutor Glen Cash argued in his closing submissions on Friday the "tall and muscular" Tostee dominated and taunted the "slight and petite" Ms Wright as he held her down on the ground with his body weight.

Warriena Tagpuno Wright. Photo / Facebook
Warriena Tagpuno Wright. Photo / Facebook

Cash said Tostee then choked the terrified Ms Wright for up to 45 seconds before cutting off her only means of escape. "He has caused her death as much as if he had pushed her from the balcony himself," Mr Cash said.

- AAP

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