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Vic deaf trio allegedly planned murder

AAP logoAAP 4/10/2016 Jacqueline Le

Three deaf people accused of murdering a man used sign language to allegedly discuss how best to kill him moments before he fell to his death from a Melbourne balcony.

An Auslan interpreter who studied footage of the trio allegedly discussing how best to kill Robert Wright will give evidence that Georgia Fields had asked Jake Fairest "you want dead or alive, and how die?"

Fairest suggested strangling Mr Wright, but Fields said making him fall was a better plan, prosecutor Christopher Dane QC told a Victorian Supreme Court jury on Tuesday.

It's alleged Fields told them "fall good, fall good" in sign language.

Fairest, Fields and Warwick Toohey were each found unfit to stand trial but are subject to a special hearing over the 2015 murder.

Toohey and Fairest are intellectually disabled while Fields suffers from atypical autism and has low intelligence.

Mr Wright, who was also deaf, died of catastrophic head injuries after falling from the balcony of the second-floor Ringwood unit he shared with Toohey on January 15 last year.

"The prosecution case is Mr Wright was pushed in a plan between his housemate and his two other friends," Mr Dane told the court.

"Fairest and Toohey, the Crown says, lifted him up and forced his body over the railing of the balcony while Fields looked on."

A neighbour who was smoking a cigarette outside will give evidence he saw Mr Wright holding onto the balcony ledge while an unknown person held his wrist, said the prosecutor.

That person then let go of the 36-year-old.

Defence counsel for Toohey said his client is mentally impaired and not legally responsible for his actions.

"Much of what the Crown says happened, we do not disagree with," barrister Theo Alexander said in his defence reply.

"The issue in relation to Toohey is how his mental capacity interacts with his legal liability."

Mr Alexander said Toohey was unable to form an intention of murder and was unable to appreciate what was happening.

Defence counsel for Fairest said his client was not involved in Mr Wright's murder.

"He says 'I wasn't part of an agreement and I wasn't involved in the ultimate act of pushing him off the balcony'," said barrister David Gibson.

Peter Kilduff, representing Fields, said his client denied murdering Mr Wright.

"She told police ... 'Warwick and Jake both picked Robert up and pushed him off the balcony'," he said.

The prosecution says five days after Mr Wright died, Fields told a friend on Facebook messenger that she, Fairest and Toohey "pushed Robbie over the balcony".

"She stated she didn't want to tell the truth to police as she wanted to be free and not in jail," Mr Dane said.

In a special hearing it is open to the jury to find the accused has committed the offence, or find the accused is not guilty, or not guilty by reason of mental impairment.

The special hearing before Justice Jane Dixon will continue on Wednesday.

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