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Tostee not guilty of Tinder date's death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/10/2016 Sarah Motherwell

Gable Tostee is a free man after being cleared of killing his Tinder date Warriena Wright, who fell to her death from his 14th floor Surfers Paradise balcony.

After waiting four days for a verdict, the Gold Coast man who had always protested his innocence was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter in a dramatic end to his trial on Thursday.

The verdict only came after Supreme Court Justice John Byrne rejected an application by Mr Tostee's lawyers for a mistrial after a juror commented on the trial on social media.

His family gasped with relief as the jury of six men and six women, some of whom were in tears, declared him not guilty.

The 30-year-old did not speak to the huge media throng outside the Brisbane Supreme Court but his lawyer said he wanted to put the case behind him.

"He is looking forward to moving on with his life. He thanks the people who have supported him through this and realised how tragic this has been for many people," Nick Dore said.

"At this stage he is looking forward to putting it behind him and considering his future from here."

Ms Wright's family was also in tears after the verdict.

Warriena's mother Merzabeth, who sat in the front row of the public gallery surrounded by supporters, was upset an audio recording of her daughter's last moments were made public during the trial and refused to speak to the media.

Queensland Homicide Victims' Support Group spokeswoman Deborah Taylor said the family was still coming to terms with the loss of the 26-year-old.

"They have been quite overwhelmed by the media," Ms Taylor said.

Ms Wright's death will now be investigated by the Queensland coroner.

Despite a verdict being reached early on Thursday, Mr Tostee's case faced a possible mistrial when it was discovered a juror had been posting about it on her Instagram account.

The woman, who cannot be identified, told her 2000-plus followers the case was a huge responsibility they wanted to get "right".

Justice Byrne rejected the application but did scold the juror anonymously after the verdict was delivered.

"This is a particularly disappointing feature of the events of the day but only one is responsible for it," he said.

Ms Wright fell to her death trying to climb over the balcony of Mr Tostee's 14th floor Surfers Paradise apartment in the early hours of August 8, 2014.

The audio recording Mr Tostee made on his mobile phone that captured the struggle between the pair and Ms Wright's eventual death was a key piece of evidence during the six day trial, and cited as a reason why Mr Tostee never took the witness stand.

"You couldn't get a better version (of events)," Mr Dore said outside court.

The trial heard Ms Wright was "massively" drunk when she started throwing decorative rocks at Mr Tostee, who then tackled the New Zealander to the ground.

He was heard telling Ms Wright "you're lucky I haven't chucked you off my balcony you God damn psycho little bitch" as he restrained her on the ground.

It is believed Ms Wright then hit Mr Tostee with a metal telescope clamp, prompting him to restrain her despite her repeated objections, put her out on his balcony and lock the door.

Ms Wright, who was visiting Australia for two weeks for a friend's wedding, fell to her death moments later after attempting to climb over the banister.

His barrister Nick Holt had argued Mr Tostee was legally entitled to protect himself and his property from Ms Wright, who was three times over the legal driving limit and had behaved "irrationally" all night.

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