David Benbow murder trial: Second jury set to begin deliberations

The second trial of David Benbow, accused of murdering his childhood friend Michael McGrath, is coming to a close.  

In the first trial, the jury couldn't agree on a decision and, after a second seven-week trial, the jury will begin its deliberations on Monday.

Benbow is accused of murdering McGrath, who disappeared six years ago. His body has never been found.   

Police allege it was a crime of passion - the motive being McGrath had started seeing Benbow's ex-partner Jo Green, the mother of his two children.  

But the defence has said there is no evidence of homicide and Benbow is innocent.  

"The Crown has failed to prove that Mr Benbow has committed any crime in this case," defence lawyer Kirsten Gray said. "The Crown case is a house of cards built on shaky foundations which if you give it any real probing will simply fall over."  

Michael McGrath.
Michael McGrath. Photo credit: New Zealand Police

However, the two sides do agree on one thing - Benbow and McGrath's friendship. "They were close and they had been mates for a long time," Gray said.  

Benbow's first seven week-long trial earlier this year ended in a hung jury after the seven men and five women could not reach a verdict after four days of deliberations.  

Benbow has now sat through two trials and 14 weeks of evidence, both taking place this year. On Monday, the judge will sum up the case and the jury of six women and six men will begin deliberating.