Lisa’s behaviour ‘schizophrenic’ before death plunge

Simon Gittany’s defence team has described his fiancée’s behaviour as “schizophrenic” before she fell to her death from their inner Sydney apartment.

Gittany is on trial for murder accused of throwing Lisa Harnum from the balcony of their 15th floor home in July 2011.

The 40-year-old admits the two had been arguing but maintains she climbed over the balcony railing herself.

Today defence barrister Phillip Strickland QC continued with his closing remarks on the case, as the trial draws to a close.

Mr Strickland told the court Ms Harnum had “extreme ambivalence” towards her relationship with the accused.

He said she was a changeable person, both in terms of her attitudes and behaviour.

“Symptomatic of the schizophrenic view she had of the relationship. One the one hand hating it, on the other not wanting it to end,” Mr Strickland told the court.

He also reiterated evidence given earlier in the trial about Ms Harnum suffering from anorexia nervosa, telling the court those with the condition have a tendency towards impulsive behaviour and to experience greater stress from interpersonal conflict.

Earlier this week Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC told the court that Gittany had restricted Ms Harnum’s social activities, friendships, exercise and work opportunities because “he was insanely jealous of all other men”.

“He was not satisfied with her having even the tiniest part of her life that he didn’t know about or control,” Mr Tedeschi said.

“Your honour could only conclude that her isolation was precisely what he wanted.”

The prosecution has argued Gittany was “apoplectic with rage” on the day Ms Harnum died.

But today Mr Strickland told the court that the photographs available do not prove that, saying his client could have been simply angry.

Mr Strickland said Gittany’s acts of aggression and insensitive remarks could have triggered an impulsive response from Ms Harnum.

“It is plausible that her reaction to those circumstances was to, on impulse, run to the balcony and climb over the balustrade,” he told the court.

Gittany, dressed in a business suit, sat through his barrister’s statement, while his current girlfriend and other family members were also in court.

Members of Ms Harnum’s family were also present.

There is no jury in the trial and a verdict will be handed down by Justice Lucy McCallum.

On Tuesday she revoked Gittany’s bail and ordered he be taken into custody, saying it was exceptional to have an accused in a murder trial free on bail.

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