The man accused of the heinous homosexual murder of a man found at the foot of a cliff in Manly three decades ago will seek to have the evidence against him rejected before being tried.
Scott Phillip White has been charged with the murder of American mathematician Scott Johnson whose body was discovered near North Head on December 10, 1988.
White faces a jury trial in June 2022, but lawyers for the 50-year-old told the New South Wales Supreme Court on Monday that they would file a notice of motion to exclude parts of the cases. evidence against him.
The defense is said to be arguing for a considerable “body of evidence” gathered during a police operation to be ruled inadmissible.
“We intend not to detail (…) all the issues on which objections may ultimately be raised, but rather to consolidate the evidence relating to this big question,” said lawyer Belinda Rigg.
Supreme Court Justice Peter Johnson has ordered that a pre-trial hearing, lasting five to seven days, be set for October 5 to deal with the matter.
The court also heard from Mr Johnson’s brother, Steve Johnson, hoping to fly from the United States to attend the October hearing in person.
The case is then listed for a mention on September 21.
White’s arrest in May 2020 was a major step forward in Mr Johnson’s family’s 32-year fight for justice and follows three inquiries into the death.
The 27-year-old’s death was deemed suicide during the first investigation before a second investigation in June 2012 made an open conclusion.
However, the third investigation in 2017 found that Mr Johnson fell from the top of a cliff as a result of violence from an unidentified assailant who considered him to be gay.
A $ 1 million reward for information was offered by police in 2018 before Steve Johnson pledged to match that figure in March 2021.
A 2018 police examination of 88 suspicious deaths between 1976 and 2000 found 27 men were likely murdered for being gay, with cases peaking in the late 1980s and early 1990s.