After an epic five hour judgment, NSW Supreme Court judge Justice Lucy McCallum found Simon Gittany guilty of murdering his Canadian fiancee, Lisa Harnum.
“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant threw her over the balcony,” McCallum said before the crowded courtroom, more than two years after 30-year-old Harnum fell to her death from the couple’s 15th floor Sydney apartment on 30 July, 2011.
Justice McCallum rejected Gittany’s claims that his fiancee had climbed over the balcony during an argument and had lost her footing, subsequently falling to her death. After being presented with evidence including text messages Gittany sent to Harnum (”Please don’t let any guy talk to you today… Don’t look at any guy, as your eyes should only gaze on me, the one), the surveillance system under which Harnum had been as well as chilling CCTV footage that showed Gittany dragging his fiancee into their apartment, one hand around her mouth, only moments before she plunged to her death.
“I do not think there can be any doubt that the accused was controlling, dominating and at times abusive,” Justice McCallum told the court. “I am satisfied [that] by the end of July 2011, those tensions had reached a point of crisis.”
Lisa Harnum’s death has been one of the most closely followed cases in recent times, and today’s marathon verdict was brought to the public through to-the-second live tweets from court media. Attorney General Greg Smith SC commented on the role of social media for this case in a statement that said, “Twitter provided an opportunity for people to be informed not just about a very tragic case which clearly captured the public imagination, but also the justice process more broadly.”
The sentencing hearing for Simon Gittany is 5 February 2014.
For more details on the trial head to abc.net.au
Domestic violence is a crime. If you are scared now or in immediate danger, call 000. If you experience violence in a relationship or from a family member, call 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732 or visit this website.