A MURDER trial witness admitted to being "pissed and stoned" when he allegedly saw a man fatally strike his neighbour with a baseball bat more than a decade ago.
Robert Stonestreet told the supreme court in Moree the red wine with cokes and cones of weed he'd had on the night in question did not hinder him from seeing Bruce Anthony Coss, 49, allegedly murder Darren Royce Willis in Bingara one night in late 2010.
"Do you think that your reality was altered in any way by the drugs or alcohol that you consumed that night?" defence barrister Peter King asked in cross-examination.
"No," Mr Stonestreet said.
Coss has pleaded not guilty to murdering 45-year-old Mr Willis by hitting him with a modified baseball bat on a dark street in the town, north of Tamworth, in December 2010.
Mr Stonestreet entered his second day of evidence on Tuesday after earlier telling the trial he, Coss and Scott Marle had ended up back at Coss' house after going to the Sportsman's Hotel one Friday night.
He said he followed Coss out the front to see what the dogs were barking at when an argument broke out between Coss and Mr Willis on the street.
He said he watched Mr Willis fall to the ground after Coss hit him in the stomach then the head with a baseball bat.
The court heard Mr Stonestreet had denied any knowledge of Mr Willis' disappearance and lied about what he knew for almost a decade, until he came clean to detectives in April 2020.
Mr King picked at Mr Stonestreet's version of events, saying he only told police the "piece of gold" about seeing the bat strike Mr Willis at a time when Mr Stonestreet was in custody for concealing a major offence.
"I wanted to come forward ... it wasn't just to get out of jail," Mr Stonestreet said.
He told the court not calling an ambulance for Mr Willis and not calling the police immediately was the biggest mistake he'd ever made.
"I don't know ... I just freaked out at the time," he said.
Mr Willis vanished in late 2010 and an inquest was held in 2014. His body has never been found.
New information in 2018 sparked detectives to look into the case again and Coss was arrested in October 2019.
The evidence of Mr Stonestreet and Mr Marle, as well as dozens of recorded conversations, are key to the Crown case.
The trial will continue before Justice Hament Dhanji on Thursday, due to the courts being affected by industrial action in the public service on Wednesday.
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