Former chauffeur Gordon Wood denies he asked to see the breasts of his dead model girlfriend Caroline Byrne as she lay in a morgue, and only went there to say a final goodbye, a court has heard.
Mr Wood, once a driver for high-profile stockbroker Rene Rivkin, was charged over Ms Byrne’s death after her body was found in rocks at the base of notorious Sydney suicide spot The Gap in mid-1995.
He was found guilty of murder in 2008 but the conviction was quashed four years later.
Mr Wood is now pursuing damages in the NSW Supreme Court over the wrongful conviction.
It was alleged in 2007 by a morgue attendent that Mr Wood had asked police ‘Do you mind if I see her tits?’ when he went to visit in the days after Ms Byrne’s death.
But his lawyer Bruce McClintock SC said on Tuesday a counsellor claimed Mr Wood had instead held her hand.
“Of all the things that were said about my client … this was probably, in a sense, the most damaging and it was totally false,” he said.
On the second day of his opening submissions, Mr McClintock told the court the police investigation into Mr Wood was “flawed”.
He again attacked the evidence of retired University of Sydney physicist Associate Professor Rod Cross, who was writing a book at the time of the trial about how physics contributed to the police investigation.
Mr McClintock told the court Prof Cross, who has a background in plasma physics, was not qualified to give such advice.
“To call it junk science, is to do a disservice to the word junk,” he said.
Part of the original case against Mr Wood was he threw Ms Bryne off the cliff edge above where her body was found.
Prof Cross ran tests into throwing speeds and trajectories but Mr McClintock said they were not thorough and didn’t match what he said in evidence, the court heard.
Mr McClintock read an excerpt from Prof Cross’s book that said “the fact that I didn’t have experience in investigating a cliff fall didn’t worry me in the slightest”.
Mr Wood is expected to give evidence on Thursday.