Man accused of murder by throwing fiancee off balcony is granted bail

A MAN accused of throwing his fiancee from the balcony of their luxury, high-rise apartment in the Sydney CBD will walk from jail within days after being granted bail on the strength of his defence and a $630,000 surety.

Simon Gittany has been charged with murder over the death of a Canadian woman, Lisa Cecilia Harnum, who plunged from the balcony of their 15th-floor apartment last July.

But yesterday Mr Gittany's family cried with relief outside Central Local Court after a magistrate, Janet Wahlquist, granted him conditional bail.

The magistrate said Mr Gittany's counsel had presented an ''arguable defence'', and given his close relationship with his family, she did not believe he would fail to attend court.

Another consideration was that it would be a long time before Mr Gittany could face a Supreme Court jury trial, she said.

Mr Gittany's lawyer, Elias Tabchouri, launched a vociferous attack on the evidence of the key prosecution witness in the case - a man who allegedly heard screaming from the 15th floor of the building as he walked to work through Hyde Park.

In a recorded interview the witness said he heard a male voice which sounded ''deranged and emotional'', then saw a man who looked like he was ''throwing luggage off the balcony''.

Then he had encountered two tradesmen ''who confirmed it was a body'', the witness told police.

He said a few minutes later a man who he thought was the man from the balcony, came down and ''observed the body from some distance'' before coming closer.

But Mr Tabchouri said the witness had been 100 metres away, looking up through the trees of Hyde Park, describing his evidence as ''not only questionable, but to some degree puzzling''.

In a theatrical display, Mr Tabchouri thumped a large black file case on the bar table and declared: ''The victim was all arms and legs with long hair, your honour … how could you possibly confuse her with luggage?''

Mr Tabchouri painted a picture of Ms Harnum as a distressed, possibly disturbed young woman, suffering from bulimia who had just been dumped by Mr Gittany, whom she was planning to marry.

He said Ms Harnum had leapt onto the balustrade and slipped and fell, damaging a 14th-floor awning in a desperate bid to save herself.

''The victim is not a boomerang - if she was pushed or dropped as the prosecution claimed, then she wouldn't have caused any damage to the level-14 awning,'' he said.

The prosecutor, Daniel Noll, said there was a great deal of circumstantial evidence that Mr Gittany was guilty of murder.

He said witnesses would testify Mr Gittany was ''extremely controlling'' towards Ms Harnum, rarely allowing her to leave the apartment alone and telling her, ''I'm timing you.''

Mr Gittany is expected to be released from Long Bay jail within the next few days.

with Lisa Davies