Fiance to stand trial for murder over balcony death

The man accused of dropping his fiancee 15 storeys from the balcony of a luxury apartment building in Sydney after she said she would leave him has been committed to stand trial for murder.

Simon Gittany, 39, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Lisa Cecilia Harnum by "causing her to fall" from the balcony of their rented apartment in The Hyde building on July 30, 2011.

In Downing Centre Local Court on Friday, Magistrate Clare Farnan said she found, on the evidence, there was a reasonable prospect a jury, properly instructed, could find Mr Gittany guilty of murder.

Mr Gittany, wearing a white shirt and black pants, stood when Ms Farnan announced her decision and said: "I am not guilty and I reserve my defence."

He then took a gulp of water from a plastic bottle.

At least 15 members of his family were in court for the decision, as were about 10 police officers.

Ms Farnan said the evidence of witness Josh Rathmell, who said he heard screams and saw a man drop a large object from a balcony that morning, could be accepted by a jury.

"'If accepted, it could establish, in my view, that the accused dropped Ms Harnum from the balcony," she said.

Ms Farnan said there was evidence before the court about Mr Gittany's controlling nature.

"If a jury accepted that evidence – and it appears to have some weight – it would likely be accepted that the relationship was abnormal and controlling on the accused's part."

Ms Farnan said the defence's assertion that Ms Harnum jumped from the balcony, was not a "reasonable or foreseeable" course of action to escape harm.

During final submissions at his committal hearing on Thursday, prosecutor Daniel Noll said there was a lot of evidence that Mr Gittany had a controlling nature.

Mr Noll said the couple argued that morning because Ms Harnum had decided to leave him.

"The accused was very controlling and jealous and domineering to the deceased.

"This type of behaviour appeared to escalate around [Ms Harnum's] time of death.

On the morning of her death, the intensity of their arguing heightened to a point where she was heard screaming and knocking on a neighbour's door, Mr Noll said.

"[Mr Gittany was] enraged by the actions of the deceased in attempting to leave him and the accused carried ... her to the balcony and dropped her from the 15th floor."

Mr Gittany's barrister, Anthony Bellanto, QC, said the couple had argued the night before.

In the morning, Mr Gittany told police he tried to make things better and they began to argue again, Mr Bellanto said.

"He concedes candidly that she told him she was leaving and she grabbed her handbag, went to leave through the front door and he stopped her."

Mr Bellanto said Mr Gittany told police she then raised her voice and tried to get the neighbours' attention.

Mr Bellanto said Mr Gittany told police: "I yelled back 'shut the f--- up'. I was in the kitchen and I saw her run past to the balcony. I remember thinking 'what's on the balcony?'.

"I saw her step over the railing onto the little cliff face. I was just grabbing her. I might have had her handbag or jacket and then she was gone."

Mr Gittany will face the Supreme Court on February 1 and his bail was continued.

This story Fiance to stand trial for murder over balcony death first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.