'Blinkered approach' by police

TWO separate killers took the lives of Tasmanian drug dealers slain 14 years apart, and neither of the perpetrators was the man on trial for their murders, the Hobart Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Defence lawyer Tamara Jago, SC, said her client Stephen Roy Standage, 61, knew both murdered men but was not involved in their deaths.

Ms Jago said the defence would argue police had a "blinkered" approach to investigating the crimes once Mr Standage's connection to both men was established.

The court heard the defence would argue it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt the accused killed Ronald Frederick Jarvis, 37, at Nugent in July 1992 or John Lewis Thorn, 59, at Lake Leake in 2006.

Ms Jago said the defence would dispute the "vast majority" of information and evidence presented by the prosecution.

Ms Jago urged jurors to keep an open mind as they critique, analyse and assess evidence throughout the trial.

Earlier, Crown prosecutor Darryl Coates, SC, finished outlining the prosecution's case.

Mr Coates gave further details of an undercover police sting designed to extract information about the murders from Mr Standage.

The court heard the accused was the focus of a sophisticated covert operation spanning several months.

Mr Coates said that Mr Standage was befriended by specialist Victorian cold case detectives posing as members of a gang, and flown to Melbourne several times to take part in a series of "simulated criminal activities".

The Crown said the jury would be shown video footage of a fabricated "job interview" between Mr Standage and an officer posing as the crime gang boss at Crown Casino in 2010.

The court was told the exchange was designed to illicit details of the murders from Mr Standage.

Mr Coates said the accused alluded to both cases during the interview and said the police had nothing on him.

Also included in the Crown's opening address were details of forensic evidence which allegedly links Mr Standage with Mr Thorn's murder scene.

Prosecutors will allege Mr Standage's DNA was found on a nail protruding from the stump of a sapling "pointing towards the body as a marker", and a tripod of sticks had also been placed near the body to mark its location.

Mr Coates said the accused "had a habit of leaving markers", with two tripods of sticks also found at his property.

The court heard Mr Standage also approached Mr Thorn's partner soon after he went missing, concerned DNA left in the dead man's car could implicate him in the murder.

Mr Coates said the conversation took place before anybody knew Mr Thorn was dead, let alone the unlawful circumstances surrounding his death.

The trial continues on Monday.

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