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‘His DNA was the only DNA found at the residence’

A Supreme Court jury was yesterday told to find the truth in the evidence as a aggravated burglary trial came to a close.

Shaunté Simons-Fox, for the Crown, told the court yesterday that the evidence against Zywonde Lema, 20, was overwhelming – while his story was too inconsistent to be reliable.

She added: “We say that we’ve shown that the circumstantial evidence can only point to the fact that Zywonde Lema is guilty of these offences.

“He had the opportunity, he knew the area, he knew about the burglary – he discussed it with somebody – he had access to a bike and a helmet.

“He fits the description – six foot, lanky build – and his DNA was the only DNA found at the residence.

“Now the defendant, Zywonde Lema, is hoping that you will not believe everything that you have heard for yourself – show him that he is wrong.”

Mr Lema has pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary that was alleged to have happened at a Warwick home on November 13, 2020.

The court heard earlier that Holly Murphy left her Warwick home at around 8.45am on November 13, 2020, to take her son to nursery school, only to discover shortly after that her apartment had been ransacked.

She told the court that more than $825 in clothing and accessories had been stolen and that the break-in caused an additional $945 in damages.

A kitchen knife had also been taken from her kitchen counter and replaced with one that Ms Murphy said she had never seen before.

A DNA test later showed that Mr Lema’s DNA could be found on the knife.

Ms Simons-Fox told the court that the Crown believed Mr Lema broke into the house with another, left the knife on the kitchen counter, and, in a panic, picked up the wrong knife as he left.

She added that, although he claimed to spend the whole day with his girlfriend, his shaky memory of the day, combined with his testimony that he knew of the planned burglary and that someone stole his knife for it, cast doubt on him.

But Bruce Swan, for the defence, said that the evidence did not do enough to place his client at the scene.

He explained that Mr Lema had not been spotted on any CCTV footage between the allegedly burgled house and Grape Bay Beach where he was living at the time.

He also insisted that his client’s story did not shift during his police interview, but that he instead answered the questions as he was asked them.

Mr Swan said: “Everything that these robbers did was very deliberate, very methodical – so why, during a methodical invasion of a residence would someone misplace the knife?”

Mr Swan urged the jury to ignore the “violins” of emotional storytelling and to focus on the evidence to reach a reasonable conclusion.

He said: “You have heard an interesting story, and while we can all play our violins and listen to that story, we must hear the evidence and we cannot listen to those violins.

“We say we have plenty of reasonable doubt – there’s just not enough evidence.”

The trial continues.