Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 20/07/2004, pg. 5

A WOMAN who accompanied two men who allegedly bashed a couple, put them in a car boot and shot them was timid, ineffectual and cowardly in failing to prevent an explosion of rage and the catastrophe that followed, a court was told yesterday.

Joanne Dale Palmer, 32, has pleaded not guilty in Toowoomba Supreme Court to the torture and murder of Sharon May Clark and James Gareth Hunt at Goondiwindi on December 23, 2002.

Daniel Bernard Smith, 22, has also pleaded not guilty to murdering Clark and Hunt, who both died of gunshot wounds.

In his closing address yesterday, defence barrister Adrian Gundelach said Palmer went with the men to make sure the bashing did not get out of hand but when “the bounds of savagery were crossed” she had tried to keep two children in the couple’s house away.

He said Palmer had failed miserably to limit the gross stupidity of the two men who brutally bashed the couple about 2.30am as they slept in their bedroom.

“She was not an aider, just a very poor hinderer,” Mr Gundelach said.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne told the court Palmer played an active part in planning the attack, attempted to disguise the identity of the attackers and took a change of clothing and a getaway car to the murder scene.

Defence barrister Robbie Davies said Smith was woken about 3am by Palmer’s fiance who told him he had two people in the boot of a car and demanded a gun to shoot them. Mr Davies said Smith handed over a rifle when he too was threatened.

Judge Richard Chester-man today will complete his summing up and ask the jury to retire to consider a verdict.

Copyright 2004 / Courier Mail