A man charged over a cold-case murder in Queensland will not stand trial after a magistrate decided the case against him wasn’t strong enough.

A Queensland man will avoid trial over the 2001 murder of a man after a court ruled there was not enough evidence to convict him.

Shane Anthony Eric Hansen, 34, was one of three people charged with killing 31-year-old Darren Britza.

Mr Britza’s body was found in a shallow grave at Boyland in the Gold Coast hinterland in 2008.

Jade Marie Clarke and Dean Mark Wills were committed to stand trial over the killing in 2012, and shortly after Hansen was arrested and also charged with murder.

Hansen’s lawyer made an application in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday that his client had no case to answer because there was no clear evidence he was involved in the murder.

Magistrate Anne Thacker agreed, saying the case against Hansen relied on circumstantial evidence and key witnesses were unreliable.

“Clearly something happened but there is no direct inference that can be drawn, in my view, between what these people variously say and the charge that’s been preferred,” she said.

Clarke and Wills are awaiting trial in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.