National

NZ man says SA shooting was ‘self-defence’

By AAP Newswire

A New Zealand man on trial over a shooting murder in Adelaide almost 20 years ago says he was acting in self-defence and using a faulty shotgun, a court has heard.

Paul Beveridge Maroroa, 44, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Robert Sabeckis, whose body was found in a car park at Maslin Beach, south of the city, in January 2000.

Opening the Crown case in the Supreme Court on Monday, prosecutor Sandi McDonald SC told jurors paramedics found Mr Sabeckis, 42, dead with a gaping gunshot wound to his arm and large wounds to his armpit and chest.

His pants were also pulled down and his genitals exposed, in "one final act of humiliation" inflicted by his killer.

Ms McDonald said the shooter fled the scene in the victim's car but quickly lost control and crashed into nearby trees, causing the airbag to go off.

"That airbag ultimately provided one of the critical pieces of evidence that was to solve the mystery of who had murdered Robert Sabeckis 20 years later," she said.

The court heard bloodstains on the airbag of the abandoned car were submitted for DNA analysis, and found to belong to both Mr Sabeckis and Maroroa.

"The accused's DNA was on that airbag because he was the person who murdered Mr Sabeckis in the car park," Ms McDonald said.

"He gunned him down that morning before striking him in the head with the butt of the firearm, leaving him for dead."

The prosecutor said a sawn-off rifle and a pair of bloodstained jeans were found in a bag by a man snorkelling at Aldinga Beach later on the day of the murder.

The bag was discovered "around the corner from the accused's house", and his and Mr Sabeckis' DNA profiles were also found on the jeans.

But Heath Barklay SC, for Maroroa, said self-defence would be an issue in the trial.

"This case is not about whether the accused shot the deceased. He did," Mr Barklay said.

"Where the issue is, in this case, is that the crime scene and the injuries do not paint a clear-cut case of murder as the prosecution claims it does."

Mr Barklay added that the right barrel of the shotgun was found to be defective, and required "very little pressure" to discharge.

The trial is expected to run for three weeks before Justice Sam Doyle, with jurors expected to visit the Maslin Beach car park on Tuesday.