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SA car wash murder convictions quashed

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016

Two people found guilty of luring a man to a car wash in Adelaide and shooting him in the head have had their murder convictions quashed by the High Court.

The court found that the convictions of Tristan Kay Castle, 39, and Jason Bucca, 27, represented a substantial miscarriage of justice.

The pair were jailed for life for the murder of Adrian MacDonald in December 2014 after luring the 39-year-old to the Big Bucket car wash in Adelaide's north.

It was found Castle, who had asked Mr McDonald to meet her to discuss their ended relationship, drove to the scene with Bucca hiding in the boot of her car.

She enticed the victim into the front passenger seat before Bucca shot him in the hip and then the head, the jury found.

Mr McDonald's injuries were consistent with him being shot from the boot of the car or the back seat while trying to escape from the car, prosecutors said.

On Wednesday, the High Court ruled that the evidence presented during the trial was insufficient and it overturned the convictions, ordering new trials.

It said the prosecution case had relied on a witness whose evidence was flawed.

This witness told the jury that after the shooting she heard Bucca tell her father "he didn't mean to do it". But she admitted she was unclear about who Bucca was referring to.

The High Court judges said this evidence was presented as an admission but actually favoured the defendants.

"The jury might have convicted on the strength of the admission alone in Bucca's case and largely on the strength of the admission in Castle's case," the judges said in their reasons.

They said this evidence "gave rise in each case to a perceptible risk of a miscarriage of justice".

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