The jury is still out on whether Brett Peter Cowan killed Sunshine Coast teen Daniel Morcombe.
Jurors deciding the fate of Daniel Morcombe’s accused killer have been told they can consider a manslaughter verdict.
The six men and six women on the Brisbane Supreme Court jury retired shortly after noon on Wednesday to consider their verdicts in the murder trial of Brett Peter Cowan.
Cowan, 44, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Daniel, 13, indecently treating him and interfering with his corpse.
Jurors deliberated for three and a quarter hours on Wednesday before the court was adjourned for the day.
The panel has heard four weeks of evidence from more than 100 witnesses.
Before the jury began deliberations, Justice Roslyn Atkinson told them that to find Cowan guilty of murder they must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Daniel Morcombe was dead and that Cowan intentionally killed him.
“If the verdict on the offence of murder is guilty, no further verdict will be taken on count one,” she said.
“If however the verdict is not guilty, my associate will then ask ‘how do you find the defendant – guilty or not guilty of manslaughter’?”
Justice Atkinson said that to find Cowan guilty on the second charge, jurors must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt he indecently dealt with Daniel by pulling down his pants.
The accused was guilty on count three if jurors were satisfied he interfered with the boy’s corpse by dragging it, throwing it over an embankment and burying it under tree branches.
The jury retired at 12.14pm and the court was adjourned at 4.30pm.
Three reserve jurors were excused.
Earlier the judge advised jurors to carefully consider the video of Cowan confessing to undercover police that he abducted and killed Daniel.
“It’s up to you to decide whether you’re satisfied those things said by the defendant, which would tend to indicate that he is guilty of the offence, were true,” she said.
“Because if you’re not satisfied, you couldn’t rely on them as a guide to prove his guilt.”
Daniel vanished while waiting for a bus at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.
Prosecutors say Cowan’s confessions to the undercover police are so powerful they leave no doubt as to his guilt and that he knew where to find Daniel’s remains because he killed the boy.
The defence says Cowan falsely confessed because he thought he’d make a fortune by telling a “convincing lie” to the undercover police officers he thought were members of a criminal gang.
Defence barrister Angus Edwards says somebody else told his client where Daniel’s remains were and that a convicted pedophile named Douglas Jackway was more likely to have murdered the boy.
The jury is expected to resume deliberations on Thursday morning.