Bris Financial Planner Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Of Client
A Brisbane financial planner who bludgeoned a client to death with a hammer allegedly did so to cover up fraud worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Trung The Ma has admitted killing 63-year-old Huegio Bonham in February 2014 and hiding his body in storage, but pleaded not guilty to murder on mental health grounds.
His lawyers argue his responsibility for killing Mr Bonham was diminished because his state of mind was altered over fears of the collapse of his business and damage to his reputation and family.
Ma told police he confronted Mr Bonham in his Gold Coast home after his client complained his fund was not earning enough.
He claimed he snapped when he came to the conclusion Mr Bonham was going to ruin his life by taking his money elsewhere and spreading the word Ma was incompetent.
But prosecutors rejected his guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter in Brisbane Supreme Court, alleging Ma killed Mr Bonham because it would be discovered he was defrauding him of $700,000.
"If Mr Bonham were to change financial planners, then the accused's massive defrauding of him would have been discovered," crown prosecutor Michael Lehane told the trial.
"There was also a distinct possibility the unravelling of his fraud ... would snowball into a wide investigation."
Ma has pleaded guilty to interfering with Mr Bohman's corpse by putting his body in plastic containers and hiding it in storage.
He also allegedly tried to cover up the alleged murder by telling colleagues his relationship with Mr Bonham was "back on track" and acting surprised by news of his disappearance.
The trial continues on Wednesday.