Instant death from gunshot

A MAN found dead in dense Lake Leake bushland was felled by a single gunshot that probably killed him instantly, a court has heard.

The body of 59-year-old John Lewis Thorn was discovered in August 2006, two days after his disappearance.

Forensic pathologist Christopher Lawrence gave evidence yesterday in the Supreme Court  in Hobart.

The court heard that Dr Lawrence examined Mr Thorn's body the afternoon it was discovered, and performed an autopsy  two days later.

Dr Lawrence said there were no signs that a gun had been  pressed against Mr Thorn's head when the fatal shot was fired, with the bullet probably travelling a metre or more.

``There was no soot or unburnt gunpowder around the wound and there were no muzzle abrasions,'' Dr Lawrence told the jury.

``I would classify this as a distant range . . . as to an exact distance, you'd have to consult a ballistics expert.''

Dr Lawrence said the bullet entered Mr Thorn's head behind the left ear, passing through his brain before lodging alongside his right temple.

The court heard Mr Thorn was probably shot from behind.

``This is one of the few gunshot wounds that would have killed almost instantaneously,'' the witness said.

``It was unlikely he was looking in the direction of the gun when he was shot.''

The court heard that  Dr Lawrence also examined significant scratching to Mr Thorns shoulders, legs, wrists and buttocks.

``I've seen this pattern before and I think that probably he's been dragged,'' the witness said.

When asked if the victim had been dragged by his upper or lower body, Dr Lawrence responded: ``I think it's likely that he's been dragged by both.''

Kalangadoo man Stephen Roy Standage has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Thorn, and has also pleaded not guilty to murdering Ronald Frederick Jarvis in July 1992.

Yesterday afternoon  the jury was shown video footage of police searching Mr Standage's property  several days after Mr Thorn's body was located.

Footage showed officers finding several cannabis stashes around the property, with the accused quizzed about cannabis in a bin outside his house.

``I would've thought the bin was mine but f--- knows where that's come from,'' Mr Standage replied.

As officers searched inside his house, the accused could be heard telling police: ``I'm innocent . . . I went through this before, remember, and it f---ed my life right up.''

The trial continues today.

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