Prosecutors in the case of a seven-year-old girl who was murdered in 1992 have adopted a "blinkered" approach, the defence has said.
David Boyd, 55, denies murdering Nikki Allan in a derelict dockside building in Sunderland 31 years ago, 150 yards from her home in the Garths flats.
Newcastle Crown Court has heard she was lured to the Old Exchange Building at night, battered with a brick and stabbed repeatedly, before being dragged and dumped, dead or dying, in the basement.
Jason Pitter KC, for Boyd, reminded the jury that a different man, George Heron, had previously been charged with murder and acquitted, and claimed police took a "blinkered approach" towards Mr Heron.
He said that had continued with the subsequent investigation into Boyd.
"The blinkers, we submit, have very much stayed on," he told the court. "But the blinkered gaze has shifted, this time to David Boyd."
Mr Pitter said the approach was "if it's not him (Heron), it must be him (Boyd)".
Boyd has declined to give evidence.
Mr Pitter said: "It is not for him, after all these years, to prove his case that it wasn't him.
"He is disarmed, isn't he, by the passage of time."
Boyd was at a disadvantage when it came to recollecting events in 1992, Mr Pitter added.
Mrs Justice Lambert said she will start to sum up the case later on Thursday and is likely to finish on Friday.
Boyd, aged 25 at the time of the killing, and now of Chesterton Court, Stockton, Teesside, was known to Nikki's family as his then girlfriend was a babysitter for Nikki's mother.
The trial continues.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...