Family relief as justice served
THE truth, it's said, will set you free, but in Philip Tonal Scott's case, "the truth" put him behind bars for life.
A Supreme Court jury in Brisbane, who found a 77-year old retired Gympie funeral director guilty of murdering his son-in-law Peter Brady this week, had been told to "dig for the truth" by the crown prosecutor.
And that's what they did, said Mr Brady's older brother Tony Brady.
"Two and a half years ago I asked that justice would be done and now we feel that justice has been served after two years, five months and three days since we lost Peter," Tony told The Gympie Times yesterday.
Popular Rainbow Beach firefighter Peter Brady, 39, was shot in the back by his father-in-law outside a house on Tingira Close at Rainbow Beach on June 30, 2008, dying on the front yard of a neighbour's house after he tried to run for help.
"We didn't know which way the jury would go," Tony said.
"To us it was pretty cut and dry. We were just relieved (Scott) was found guilty of murder."
"We can never get Peter back, but at least we have peace of mind that the murderer is locked up."
The court heard Peter and Karena Brady, the parents of two young children, were in the process of separating when Peter, returning to the house to get belongings, was shot by his father-in-law who had been waiting in a shed with a loaded .9mm pistol.
During the two-week trial the court heard Scott initially denied any knowledge of his son-in-law's death until he was informed that police could prove he was at the scene.
Scott then admitted to shooting his son-in-law, but claimed it was an accident, pleading guilty to manslaughter.
The jury heard Scott's daughter had rekindled a relationship with an old boyfriend in Victoria and had moved to Victoria two months after her husband's death.
Ms Brady said she had received a $300,000 life insurance payout, but that was only after her bank reminded her to make the claim.
She told the court that even though the documents were kept at her father's house, he had no knowledge the life insurance policy existed.
Tony said the jury deliberated for three days, at one stage seeking redirection from Justice David Boddice.
"They wanted the judge to explain to them what 'beyond reasonable doubt' meant, they wanted the skeleton back to examine the way the projectile had gone through the body, and they wanted to see evidence from the ballistic expert and from forensic pathology," he said.
Justice Boddice made it clear to the jury that they were not to bring Scott's age to bear on the case, and when handing down the mandatory life sentence, he described Scott's actions as "despicable".
Peter's older sister Gympie woman Mavis Ramsey said
Scott showed no emotion throughout the trial, remaining expressionless when the verdict was read out.
For Peter's family it's been a harrowing experience, but they have been comforted by the amount of support they have received from the Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay and Gympie communities.
"Pete made his family very proud right up to the last moments of life," Mrs Ramsey said, adding that a Rainbow Beach fire truck had been named in his honour, "so he could still go to all the fires".
"I haven't been able to come to grips with it. I still go to Tin Can and hope I'm going to see Peter, but it's good to know (Scott) is in jail," she said.
"Peter was a caring, compassionate and loving human being," Tony said. "And a real good bloke."