The killing of a Ngaruawahia man found bound and dumped at McLaren Falls last year was fuelled by the bruised ego of a Waikato gang leader, a Crown prosecutor has told a Hamilton jury.
In her closing address to the jury of seven women and five men in the High Court at Hamilton in relation to the death of Mitchell Paterson, Crown prosecutor Jacinda Foster said the group's motivation was driven by one thing; "that is the ego of Mr Wilson".
"Effectively the events that you have heard about started with one man losing face and ended with another losing his life."
Paterson was found dead in a body of water under the McLaren Falls bridge early on the morning of July 13 last year, more than a day after he died on his way back to the home of Waikato Nomad gang leader Leon Colin Wilson.
Wilson, 49, and Christopher Ramia Smith, 34, each deny charges of manslaughter, kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
Co-accused Chloe Nardiah Leigh Kerridge denies charges of kidnapping and conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
On day seven of the trial in the High Court at Hamilton, Foster also told the jury how imperative the evidence was of Dylan Brian Keith Boyle, one of those who has already been sentenced for his part in what happened.
She said while their case was built on various admissions by the accused, it was boosted by additional statements made by Boyle, the driver and owner of the vehicle that Paterson was dragged into by Simon Walker, who is awaiting sentence on multiple charges in relation to the case.
"[Case] also relies on the evidence of an insider … one of the people who was involved in this attack .. Dylan Boyle and in making your assessment as to how Mr Paterson died, the circumstances of which he was kidnapped, the role that each of these three individuals played in these events is graphically illustrated in the evidence given by Mr Boyle.
"Mr Boyle was able to give you some very clear insight into how it was that these events unfolded."
Foster said Boyle acknowledged that by driving the vehicle that Paterson was detained in that he was a party to the kidnapping.
However, she also went over why he had a charge of manslaughter dropped against him after Detective Sergeant Andre Kavanagh was quizzed in the dock about the late change by Rob Weir, defence counsel for Chloe Kerridge, who had a manslaughter charge added to her indictment shortly prior to the trial.
Weir put to Kavanagh that there was a "deal" made with Boyle and his counsel if he gave further evidence against his client.
However, Kavanagh labelled that "absolutely abhorrent" when pressed by Foster in re examination.
Foster told the jury the trio were part of a group of associates who set out to find Paterson in an act she described as "the juvenile response to misinformation and rumour that drove a pack of people to target one man".
"A man they really didn't know. A man who clearly didn't want to have anything to do with them. A man who was ultimately killed by trying to protect himself from them."
She described the case against the accused as "uncomplicated" due to a series of admitted facts by them, including how Paterson was killed, the various roles played and their motivation that night.
As for Wilson's case, Foster said a key aspect the jury needed to assess were his three DVD interviews in which he kept changing his story about whether he directed Paterson be brought to his home or whether it was Walker who offered to bring him to his house.
"It's an important point in this trial and Walker seemed to change his mind about how it came about."
She asked the jury to question a submission by Wilson's lawyer Roger Laybourn to Boyle that there was nothing ominous in Wilson's comments at his house in the lead-up to the death.
She reminded the jury of Wilson's comments in the interviews in which he said Paterson was mocking him in audio circulating around Hamilton and he was getting annoyed by it.
"He was going around telling people all around Hamilton that he was walking into my house and I was bowing down to him … I had Hamilton looking down on me like I was a f****** joke."
Although he admitted wanting to "blacken his eyes", he denied giving a command to kill Paterson.
Foster told the jury to also bear in mind the evidence from the accused's mobile phones which had extensive detail in phone calls and text messages.
Foster will continue her closing submissions after the lunch adjournment.