A court has heard a man confessed to killing Tyson Timothy Clark-Robertson while being examined by a psychologist, mitigating the impact of another man’s failure to report the killing.
Robert William Broad faced a two-day trial in the Launceston Supreme Court this week, charged in relation to the death of Mr Clark-Robertson.
Mr Clark-Robertson was last seen in July 2016, nearly nine months prior to police discovering his remains in a shallow grave in the backyard of a Mayfield house.
It took the jury less than two hours to find Broad guilty of failing to report the killing.
During his sentencing submissions, Crown Prosecutor John Ransom said Broad’s delay in reporting the killing had an impact on the state’s case.
Mr Clark-Robertson’s body was highly decomposed when police found it in April 2017, preventing forensic pathologist Dr Donald Ritchie from being able to determine the cause of death.
Despite this, Mr Ransom said the state’s case was still strong because of a recent admission by Ian Rosewall.
Mr Rosewall has previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Clark-Robertson.
While in custody Mr Rosewall sought a report from a psychologist and, despite knowing privilege had been waved, he admitted to killing Mr Clark-Robertson with a hammer, Mr Ransom said.
In defence lawyer Darrell Grey’s sentencing submissions he urged Justice Robert Pearce to give his client a wholly suspended sentence.
Mr Grey said his client’s life had been somewhat difficult, having a violent father and learning difficulties.
But despite these disadvantages, Broad had a good work history and his current employer spoke highly of his work ethic, Mr Grey said.
Justice Pearce told the jury on Thursday the key issue of the trial was when Broad had discovered the killing.
In two interviews with police in April last year, Broad admitted Mr Rosewall told him Mr Clark-Robertson was gone, he’d killed him and the body was in the garden shed, but the accused claimed he did not believe those statements.
After the verdict, Mr Grey and Mr Ransom agreed it was likely Broad discovered Mr Clark-Robertson had been killed when he mowed his lawn after Christmas in 2016.
When Broad took the stand on Wednesday he said he noticed an area of the backyard was sinking, similar to what happens when you bury a dog or sheep.
He was suspicious about the patch, so he confronted Mr Rosewall.
“I asked him, ‘is that a graveyard’. He said ‘no’,” Broad said.
The court also heard that Mr Rosewall and co-accused Renae Donald, who has pleaded not guilty to accessory after the fact, used Mr Clark-Robertson’s mobile phone to reply to messages after he was dead.
This included messaging Mr Clark-Robertson’s father Tim, Mr Ransom said.
Suspicious as to why he hadn’t seen his son and why he was refusing to speak on the phone, Tim went to the police to voice his concerns, the court heard.
Mr Ransom said these events had a significant impact on Tim. Broad was bailed to reappear for sentencing on November 9.