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- Jurors ponder horror of Arthur Freeman case
- By Patrick Carlyon
- Herald Sun
- Contributed by: admin ( 15 articles in 2011 )
Arthur Freeman arrives at the Melbourne Supreme Court.
»Read who is responsible for Darcey Freeman's Death?
THE man who tossed his four-year-old daughter from the West Gate Bridge appears to sit in a static glow.
Arthur Freeman has retooled his appearance since that terrible day.
He wears a beard now. His hair is no longer cut short. Brown locks, streaked blond, fluff out above the collar of his black suit. Errant strands on his crown stand skywards.
He shuffled into the Supreme Court yesterday, broad across the shoulders, thick through the body.
He settled into a non-committal expression to hear conflicting viewpoints about the horror that still haunts those who cross the West Gate Bridge each day.
We say horror because that is how Freeman's lawyer, David Brustman, SC, described his client's actions. For the defence and prosecution agree Freeman killed his daughter.
His murder trial will hinge on a simple question with no simple answers: Why?
Darcey Iris Freeman
Freeman's expression did not shift when Mr Brustman described his actions as those of a man who was "mentally impaired" and incapable of distinguishing right and wrong.
Nor did it change when the prosecution alleged he was a murderer, or when his daughter's last conscious moment was likened to that of a rag doll.
Yet when the courtroom was shown a police video, the corners of Freeman's mouth turned downward.
The cameraman had filmed the view downwards, from where Darcey Freeman fell - the equivalent of 17 storeys.
The Yarra sparkled green-blue; industrial skylines shimmered grey. The seven minutes of footage was silent. Several jurors raised hands to mouths.
Freeman's blue eyes appeared to acquire a rheumy moisture common to people more than twice his age.
As he stared at the screen, a family member stared at him from the public gallery.
Darcey's grandfather, Wayne Barnes, grimaced and glowered only metres behind Freeman. He gripped the rail in front.
Freeman's trial looms as a showdown of psychiatrists, some of whom will say he was "mad", as Mr Brustman argues; others, that he was not.
The question of Freeman's culpability, it seems, hangs on three adjectives: did he consciously, voluntarily, and deliberately kill?
Mr Brustman said the jury's role was "difficult" and "unenviable", and he urged them to put aside emotion, sympathies and prejudices.
"This will be no doubt one of the most difficult things that you . . . will have to do, one would think, in your lives," he said.
This was among the most jolting realisations of yesterday's proceedings.
Another was this: nothing resolved in a court of law can bring back a little girl who looked a lot like the dad who killed her.