THE PROSECUTION case against businessman Nat Fraser - who denies the hit-man murder of his estranged wife 14 years ago - depends on the word of a proven liar, a jury were told.
Defence QC John Scott began his closing speech to a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh by asking them to reject the evidence of farmer Hector Dick.
Mr Dick (56), a former pal who invited Fraser to be best man at his wedding, has told the murder trial that Fraser confessed to hiring someone to strangle mum-of-two Arlene (33).
Mr Scott told jurors there was so much of the Crown case which depended almost entirely on Mr Dick for its detail.
"For example, that Arlene was strangled and that the killing was carried out by a hit-man," the lawyer continued.
Mr Scott said: "Hector Dick has lied so often, even he cannot always separate out the lies from the truth."
He invited the jury: "Blow away some of the smoke and an awful lot of the important popints come back to Hector Dick."
Mr Scott also criticised "a flawed police inquiry" which had failed in its early days to keep a proper track of items of evidence.
And he questioned statements which came from witnesses who knew each other, had naturally discussed the case, and shared similar views about Fraser.
"I suggest this case has been blighted by hindsight and assumption." said Mr Scott.
Fraser himself did not give evidence during the trial, which goes into its sixth week today (Monday).
"That fact does not take the Crown one millimetre closer to proving their case," said Mr Scott.
"Nat Fraser has been consistent in saying one thing: He did not kill his wife and he was not involved in her disappearance."
The trial has heard allegations that Fraser’s motive was that his wife was leaving him, and had seen a lawyer about getting a pay-off.
"If that is a motive for murder, then this country - Scotland we are talking about - has thousands of men police will need to keep a close eye on."
Fraser denies attacking his wife between April 28 and May 7 1998 at the home they once shared in Smith Street, New Elgin, or elsewhere in Scotland.
It is alleged that he strangled her or murdered her "by other means to the prosecutor unknown."
The indictment against Fraser says he knew Arlene had seen a solicitor about divorcing him and getting a cash pay-off.
Fraser has lodged papers in court claiming that 14 years ago on April 28 he left the address in Burnside Road, Lhanbryde, where he was staying at about 7.30am and spent the day making van deliveries to hotels, restaurants and shops - pausing to make a phone call just after 9am.
Fraser also claims that if mum-of-two Arlene was murdered, as prosecutors claim, the man responsible could be Hector Dick of Mosstowie, Elgin.
The jury has heard that there had been an earlier trial in 2003 when Hector Dick had been one of three men accused of murdering Arlene, but had left the dock and given evidence for the prosecution.
Another man on trial then, Glenn Lucas, was now dead. The third man was Fraser.
The trial continues.....