In her closing speech to the jury, Stefan Millar’s defence lawyer Frances McMenamin said there was no evidence at all to link Mr Millar to the house in Steinish where Liam’s body was found.
She said there was also no evidence that the attack on the murdered teenager had been carried out by more than one person.
In the final part of the trial of Johnathan Mackinnon and Stefan Millar (both 22) - who are accused of murdering Liam Aitchison at a house in Steinish on November 23rd 2011 - Ms McMenamin spoke at length to the jury.
She said the evidence from the Crown’s ‘star witness’ could not be taken at face value. Dominic Long shared a cell with Stefan Millar at the end of 2011 and alleged in court that Mr Millar had told him that he and Mr Mackinnon had committed the murder.
Ms McMenamin pointed out that Mr Long had issues with drug addiction, suffered from ADHD which could affect his ability to interpret information, and was also going through a detox programme at the time when he shared a cell with Mr Millar.
She said Mr Millar had told Mr Long what the police were claiming he and Johnathan Mackinnon had done. She said Mr Long had missed out ‘three wee words’ in his account which were ‘the police said.’
She said: “The Crown would have you believe that Stefan Millar chose him - a 16-year-old total stranger with such obvious and serious problems - and having maintained his innocence to friends, to the police, to other cell mates, that he confessed to Dominic Long.”
She said that confession had been so shocking to Mr Long that ‘he didn’t tell anybody’. She said he had only told this version of events to the police when they turned up at the prison to speak to him.
“Dominic Long’s evidence is just a lot of made up exaggeration of what he was actually told,” she said.
She said if Stefan Millar was guilty of anything it was being ‘completely naïve’ in thinking he could have a conversation with Mr Long which wouldn’t be misunderstood, misconstrued and misquoted.
She said that no matter how hard you looked at the evidence presented in the trial, there was nothing which placed Mr Millar at that derelict house in Steinish.
“There is no DNA evidence linking him to the attack, no forensic transfer, no fingerprints and not one piece of evidence within any of those circumstances which puts Stefan Millar at that house, far less inside it,” she said.
She said there was also no evidence that the attack on Liam Aitchison could only have been carried out by more than one person.
She added that Mr Millar had given evidence to the court and had also answered all questions put to him by the police and had had not wanted a solicitor to be present because ‘as far as he was concerned, he had nothing to hide.’
She said when the jury considered the evidence put to them by the Crown, they must ask whether it had satisfied them ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
She drew attention to the high level of alcohol found in Liam’s body and said to the jury: “How do you know that Liam Aitchison didn’t part company with the two accused and go off for more drink?”
She said no one was suggesting that when Mr Mackinnon, Mr Millar and Liam had left Plasterfield that they had a carry out with them. She noted that evidence from Forensic Scientist Sarah Jones had found Liam’s DNA on the neck of a bottle at 17 Steinish.
She said the Crown’s suggestion that Liam’s stomach was found to be empty because he had vomited before leaving Mr Mackinnon’s house was just one explanation.
She reminded the jury of the statement by Advocate Depute Mr McSporran that Liam had relied on others for money, clothing and food. She said another explanation for an empty stomach was that you hadn’t had anything to eat for a while.
Ms McMenamin said there was no verdict by the jury which could bring Liam Aitchison back.
She said she was sure the jury would reach a verdict in relation to Stefan Millar which would allow him to walk out of the courtroom.