Day 1 of Simon Gittany's sentencing: He is called the "best boyfriend ever".

Simon Gittany

Should you not have been following the twitter hash tag #Gittany yesterday there’s lots you need to catch up on.

Though you could just watch the paid interview being given by the glamorous Rachelle Louise on Sunday night on the Seven Network.

If you didn’t know about the impending tell-all surely yesterday’s media coverage and her bizarre performance at Gittany’s sentencing would have alerted you to the fact that it is on.

On a day full of Australia media crime starlets – with Schapelle Corby’s imminent release and Rachelle Louise’s Burberry handbag it was hard to get away from the flying cheque books.

But amidst the screenplays, the heavily promoted interviews and the carefully blow-dried hairdos there’s a family grieving and the tragedy of a life lost.

Yesterday’s hearing was the first day of sentencing for Simon Gittany, 40, who was found guilty of throwing his fiancee, Lisa Harnum from the balcony of their 15th- floor inner-city apartment in 2011 in a “fit of rage” upon learning she was leaving him.

How the day started

Lindy Chamberlain, Gordon Wood and Simon Gittany.

The Gittany supporter’s strange protest

Strange bedfellows – but linked by a bizarre demonstration with the parade of glossy haired, sun glassed family and friends of Simon Gittany who arrived at yesterday’s sentencing.

Bearing placards proclaiming his innocence and comparing him to killers whose convictions had been overturned – Gittany’s girlfriend Rachelle Louise led the way.

They walked into the Darlinghurst Supreme Court complex in Sydney, with placards – “How do you render some 1 unconscious in less than 65 secs without any trauma on the body?” read one placard.

The bizarre group walked silently into the courtroom

“Why was Lisa still holding her handbag and how if she was unconscious?” another read.

The victim impact statement

Lisa Harnum’s mother told the court through her victim impact statement that the loss of her daughter had left a hole in her heart.

Her statement was read out by Lisa Harnum’s former counsellor, Michelle Richmond, as Harnum’s mother lives in Canada.

Joan Harnum said that her heart that would never heal.

She called her daughter’s death a “senseless and thoughtless act of violence” and said no one had the right to control a person’s life so intensely.

Lisa’s death has caused an outcry around the world to stop violence against women,” Ms Harnum said in the statement.

“Her death and the white ribbon campaign are part of a campaign to stop this violence.

In heartbreaking words she described how thoroughly the death of her daughter had ripped her apart.

“When a parent dies, you lose your past. When a child dies, you lose your future,”

 The new witness

Simon Gittany and Rachelle Louise enter the court during the trial

Yesterday’s hearing was the beginning of the sentencing for Simon Gittany and in a shock move the Crown introduced a new witness.

The witness, who wasn’t named, told the court she was a friend of Gittany’s dead fiancé Lisa Harnum who met her through the Australian Hair and Beauty College at Bondi.

The woman said that Lisa Harnum had told her several times that Gittany had threatened to kill her if she ever left him.


She told the court she only came forward to police after hearing media reports about the trial last year.

“He said that if he killed her he would make it look like suicide,” the woman told the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Her evidence was greeted with loud laughter from Gittany’s entourage and audible mutterings from Gittany himself. At one stage it is reported he loudly whispered, “ That’s unbelievable.”

The new witness said Ms Harnum would speak of his death threats every few days over the course of four to six weeks.

Defence barrister Philip Strickland, SC, brought the new witness to tears, claiming she had fabricated her evidence after reading media reports.

 Gittany takes the stand

Simon Gittany, described as thin and wearing a dark suit then took the stand.

He told the court that “My entire life has been put up in front of not just Australia but the whole world.”

“I am charged with a crime that I did not commit. That in itself is a cross that is unbearable.”

Gittany also said he is a “God-fearing Christian” who would “never kill anyone”.

He told the court he has always believed in God.

In a bittersweet moment in a trial of horrors he then complained of the media attention the case has received, saying he had been portrayed as a monster.

Asked if he was aware that his girlfriend Rachelle Louise was due to appear on the Sunday program next week he replied.

“I have supported her absolutely,”

 Rachelle Louise says, “He’s the best boyfriend ever”

Whether you feel sympathy for her, fear for her, or find her love of a murderer incomprehensible it seems that Rachelle Louise has become the one we all want to hear from.

Rachelle Louise has accepted a payment to appear in an interview on Sunday Night

Channel Seven has paid for that right – and their heavily promoted segment will air this weekend.

But yesterday’s court hearing saw the free version as Rachelle Louise finally took the stand to ‘stand by her man.’

She cried (again) as she described him as caring and romantic.

She vowed to stand by the man who threw his former fiancée off a balcony in a fit of “apoplectic” rage saying that he was her “best boyfriend ever”.

Ms Louise told the court she and her father have spent $170,000 on his case.

Hopefully her payment from the Seven Network will go some way to reimbursing her Dad.

What’s next?

The state’s senior prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC will tell the court at today’s proceedings what sentence the Crown believes the judge should consider.

Justice Lucy McCallum will announce Simon Gittany’s sentence at a later date, hopefully providing some small amount of peace for the family of the victim Lisa Harnum.

The hearing continues at 10am.