Jury out as defence claims eye witnesses were “filling in the blanks”

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The jury in the canal murder trial retired to consider its verdict around 3.30pm today.

Judge Lady Carmichael told the 14 jurors to take as long as they need to come to a decision.

Earlier, defence counsel Tony Graham today urged a jury in the canal murder trial to acquit James Robertson of killing 27-year-old Russell Robertson. Robertson (27), from Pitlochry, and co-accused Mark Munro (31), from Denny, deny murdering Russell from Falkirk, by pushing him over bridge railings at Bainsford Bridge, Falkirk, on May 29, last year, and causing him to fall into the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Mr Graham said that eye witnesses were guilty of “filling in the blanks,” and claimed they were too far away to see what they alleged they had seen.

The defence counsel spoke of how one witnesses Kevin Gibney’s police statements were different from what he said in evidence in the trial.

He told the jury: “It is very tempting to turn this into a whodunnit and fall into the role of detectives. You are judges, not detectives.”

Mr Graham said that Robertson and Russell were seen play fighting and added: “This was a stupid scuffle. No sort of weapons were used and there was no kicking or stamping.”

The defence counsel told the jurors that Robertson had left by the time Russell went over the railings.

He added: “I would invite you to acquit James Robertson.’

The trial before judge Lady Carmichael continues.