A Supreme Court jury in the trial of a Melbourne man accused of killing his new girlfriend’s toddler has been unable to come to a verdict.
- The jury has been discharged after being unable to reach a unanimous verdict following six days of deliberations
- Brendan Pallant is accused of murdering his former girlfriend’s two-year-old son
- The case will return to court next month for a hearing
WARNING: This story contains graphic content.
Brendan Pallant was on trial for the murder of two-year-old Jaidyn Gomes-Sebastiao in September 2019.
After nearly a week of deliberations the jurors told the court they were unable to agree unanimously on whether Mr Pallant was guilty or not guilty of the charge.
The toddler died of a brain injury which the prosecution alleged was inflicted by Mr Pallant using a 4.6kg coffee table.
“Sometime that afternoon it’s alleged that Mr Pallant, during a short but profound period of frustration, anger, impatience, and loss of self-control, entered the boy’s bedroom and seriously assaulted two-year-old Jaidyn Gomes-Sebastiao,” Mark Gibson QC said.
Defence lawyers shift blame to mother
Mr Pallant’s lawyers, however, argued the injury could have been caused by another person, including Jaidyn’s mother, Stacie Saggers.
“The evidence is equally consistent with someone, Stacie, pushing or throwing Jaidyn into it,” Rishi Nathwani said.
Jaidyn had been left napping in the care of Mr Pallant while his mother went to work at a cleaning job.
Not long after she arrived home, having had some food and a sleep, Mr Pallant had suggested waking the boy, the court heard.
It was then, the defence said, Mr Pallant found Jaidyn injured in his bedroom.
“Brendan Pallant gave Jaidyn CPR, mouth-to-mouth, and during that he vomited,” Mr Nathwani told the trial.
“Is that consistent with someone wanting to kill?”
During a month-long trial the court heard Jaidyn had been left in his bedroom napping in the care of his mother’s new boyfriend, Mr Pallant, on the day he died.
Ms Saggers had met Mr Pallant just a month earlier, allowing him to move into her Langwarrin home days later.
The court heard the pair did drugs at the home and had taken some the night before Jaidyn’s death.
“[Ms Saggers] sold her son’s bed for drugs,” Mr Nathwani told the jury.
“There was methamphetamine and amphetamine in her son’s body, both in urine and in his hair.”
The crown prosecutor said despite the environment, Ms Saggers kept her home tidy and her children fed and clean.
“Sure, she was not a perfect mother, perhaps not even a good mother at times, but she was never, ever violent or physically aggressive,” Mr Gibson said.
He told the court Ms Saggers had started to notice signs Jaidyn was being injured shortly after Mr Pallant moved in, even taking photos of new bruises to monitor her suspicions.
Judge declares no verdict will be reached
Supreme Court Justice Jane Dixon discharged the jury on its sixth day of deliberations.
“Murder is a charge that requires a unanimous verdict,” Justice Dixon said.
“You’ve indicated that, despite all of that, you’ve not been able to reach a unanimous verdict.
“It’s not likely you ever will.
“This sometimes happens.”
Justice Dixon thanked the jury for its work during the month-long trial and its subsequent attempt at coming to a decision.
“You have not seen your family and friends since probably last Thursday, you’ve been cut off from communications with the world,” she said.
“You went through the Melbourne lockdowns, and you’ve been locked down again.
“On behalf of the community, you have been extraordinary, you have made such great sacrifices.”
Mr Pallant has been remanded in custody.
The case will return to court for a hearing next month to decide what happens next.