The uncle of two brothers accused of shooting Michael Rainsford would surely have deleted photos of a bike allegedly used in the attack had he believed the vehicle was part of a police probe, a jury was told.
Craig Johnson is accused of perverting the course of justice by disposing of an orange Sur Ron electric bike on behalf of James and Michael Foy.
The brothers deny murder and Johnson has pleaded not guilty to the claims against him.
Liverpool Crown Court today heard the final closing speech of the four week trial, given by Stephen McNally on behalf of Johnson.
Police found two images of the electric bike on the 39-year-old’s mobile phone when he provided it to officers last May.
They were taken on April 11, 2020, four days after Mr Rainsford was shot in Litherland.
Prosecutors allege the Foys used the electric bike to travel to the 20-year-old’s home and shoot him in an act of “supposed retribution” after their front window was smashed around an hour earlier.
It has been argued the bike was then stored in a shed at Johnson’s Bootle home and that the photos, sent to a friend called ‘Deano’, along with messages exchanged about a “van man” the following day, are indicative of efforts to sell it.
Johnson told jurors he had no knowledge the bike was in his shed before he saw it on April 11 and he did not know what happened to it after that day.
Mr McNally told jurors: “If Craig Johnson had the vaguest hint, the sneakiest of suspicions, the tiniest of tweaks on his conscience that that particular bike was connected in any way to a murder investigation, is he keeping those photographs on that telephone?
“Are those photographs staying on that phone six weeks after they were taken?”
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He continued: “Whatever impression you may have formed of him – whether you thought he was prickly, whether you thought he could be argumentative, whether you thought he was perfectly entitled to stand his ground, it doesn’t matter… Is there any way Craig Johnson keeps photographs of a bike that he knows or even has the vaguest hint might be involved in a murder investigation?”
Mr McNally said James Foy had told the jury he stored the bike in Johnson’s shed while Michael Foy had told jurors he had sold that vehicle.
He concluded: “The evidence says that Craig Johnson neither put it there, nor disposed of it.”
Following Mr McNally’s address, Justice Dove began to provide the jury with his summary of the evidence heard during the trial.
*Michael Foy, 22, and James Foy, 19, both of Rossini Street in Seaforth, deny the murder of Mr Rainsford and, in relation to that allegation, the possession of a prohibited firearm and possession of ammunition without a certificate.
James denies a separate allegation of possession of a prohibited firearm in relation to a gun found by police in November 2019.
Joyce Smith, 46 and of Rossini Street, the men’s uncle Craig Johnson, 39 and of Willard Drive in Bootle, and Andrea Saunderson, 48 and also of Rossini Street, each deny perverting the course of justice.