'Bombshell' evidence proves pair charged over Red Fox tavern murder are wrong people - defence

"Bombshell" evidence proves the two men charged over the Red Fox Tavern murder in 1987 are the wrong people, a defence lawyer says.

Lawyers for both defendants made their closing statements in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday with the jury expected to begin its deliberation tomorrow. 

The defence says an alleged confession about the Red Fox robbery from a former inmate named Lester Hamilton is a "bombshell".

And argues it proves the two men currently on trial for the killing of publican Chris Bush, 43, in Maramarua, Waikato in 1987 are the wrong people. 

Mark Joseph Hoggart, 60, and another man who has interim name suppression were arrested and charged with the murder in 2017. 

On Wednesday, Chris Stevenson - who is representing the man with name suppression - told the jury a witness who gave evidence saying Hamilton talked to him about Red Fox and said "that's mine" came forward because he believed the defendants were the wrong men.

"He's never ever told anybody about this," Stevenson told the court, "but when he heard other people had been charged, he knows they're the wrong people."

In his closing statement, Mark Hoggart's defence lawyer Craig Tuck said there had been an absence of evidence against his client, who is accused of brandishing a bat in the robbery.

"While he's been present at this trial, the evidence against him simply has not been here," Tuck said. 

But the Crown says Hamilton, who has since died, was ultimately eliminated as a Red Fox suspect by police and the two men on trial are those responsible.

"The Crown says there's irresistible evidence that before Labour Weekend they had no money, but after Labour Weekend they suddenly had cash to burn," said Crown Prosecutor Natalie Walker, referring to the men stealing money from the bar when the murder happened. 

On Thursday Justice Woolford will sum up the trial then the jury will retire to deliberate and decide whether this cold-case has finally been given some answers or remains unsolved.