A Cairns man has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a New Zealander then stuffing his body in an chilly bin.

The jury in the case of David Leslie Hickson took just over an hour to reach the guilty verdict in the Cairns Supreme Court earlier today.

It followed a week-long trial into the death of Kiwi Campbell Paterson, whose mutilated body was found in a chilly bin in remote bushland towards Yarrabah in 2014.

In sentencing, Justice James Henry said Hickson's "vile conduct" of cutting off the victim's legs, which served to further aggravate the "incalculable grief" of the family, was inexcusable.


"That act of depravity constitutes a despicable indignity done to the dead body of another."

Hickson, 34, was on bail when he committed the murder, the court heard.

He had admitted killing Mr Paterson, but had claimed it was an act of self defence. He had pleaded guilty to interfering with a corpse.

Earlier in the day, during his closing remarks, Crown prosecutor Nigel Rees slammed Hickson's self-defence claims as "nonsense" and said he changed his story multiple times.

"The accused's version makes absolutely no sense whatsoever," he said.

"I submit to you (the jury) that you should seriously scrutinise his version of self defence.

"His lies are tripping up now aren't they?

"When you look at the evidence there is absolutely no self defence there.

"His credibility is absolutely shot."

He described his behaviour after the killing as not one of panic, but "clinical" and said his actions to dump the body in a remote site and return to it several times were telling.

"He said he wanted to hand himself in ... in fact he was found hiding in a chook pen," Mr Rees told the court.

He said the fact Mr Hickson also melted the alleged murder weapon and burned towels and his clothes were also pertinent.

But defence solicitor Peter Feeney argued the aftermath did not determine guilt and the concept of self defence applied to "instinctive reactions and quick judgments".

"In fact it would be pretty meaningless if it doesn't," he said.

He also asked the jury not to be clouded by the drug themes underpinning the case and how it made them view those involved.

"Let's just be clear about one thing - these events, this involvement with drugs, dealing, debts ... all of it need not define a person," he said.

"It need not define Campbell Paterson or his family or how his family remember him.

"Just as it need not define David Hickson or his future.

"All we ask is just maintain that jury standard and everything else good and proper and just will flow from that."