BL for the defence, Brendan Grehan, said that some witnesses during the trial, including Assistant State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, could not “exclude possibilities” because they were not there at the time.
He said the prosecution case seemed to be “he murdered her because he had the opportunity to do so – that seems to be the height of it”.
Among the reasons why he said his client should be found not guilty of murder, Mr Grehan said that there was no premeditation and that Mr Lillis would not choose to kill his wife “on the one part of the property that was exposed to public view”.
Mr Grehan said that no one had noticed anything in his demeanour that morning to suggest anything awful was about to unfold.
Mr Grehan continued that Mr Lillis was due to meet his then-mistress Jean Treacy later that day and so it was “implausible” that he took advantage of an opportunity to kill his wife.
Another reason listed by the defence was that Mr Lillis clearly suffered injuries to his own face in the altercation.
Mr Grehan said “moderate force” was used, and that there was no fracture of Celine’s skull, no injury to her brain, and that her physical health at the time was a factor in her dying of postural asphyxia.
Mr Grehan said there was no evidence to support the view that Ms Cawley was found face down on the decking.
The defence barrister added that Mr Lillis’s lies regarding the burglar were “in effect to save [his daughter]” and arranged with Celine before she fell unconscious, when he was upstairs and unaware of her condition.