ONE of Australia’s leading criminal defence barristers will represent the man accused of the Hamilton break-in murder and says he will “expedite” an application to release the 33-year-old from jail.
Top Sydney silk Winston Terracini SC and barrister Brian Murray visited Benjamin Batterham at Cessnock Correctional Centre on Tuesday, a day after taking over the high-profile murder case.
Mr Batterham, an apprentice chef, is alleged to have murdered Ricky Slater-Dickson after he discovered Mr Slater-Dickson inside his Cleary Street home about 3.30am on March 26.
Mr Slater-Dickson died in John Hunter Hospital on March 27.
The Newcastle Herald reported last week that Mr Batterham would remain in custody until at least May 25 after his legal representation declined to apply for bail on his behalf in Newcastle Local Court.
But Mr Terracini SC told the Herald he planned to make a bail application “as urgently as possible” and Mr Batterham’s family was in the process of organising a surety.
He was also arranging for a forensic pathologist to look at the post-mortem examination of Mr Slater-Dickson.
Mr Batterham, who the Herald understands does not have any prior criminal history, is alleged to have discovered Mr Slater-Dickson in the hallway of his home.
It’s believed Mr Batterham chased Mr Slater-Dickson outside where the pair were allegedly involved in a fight.
It’s understood Mr Batterham suffered a number of injuries to his face as well as bite marks to his body.
When police arrived Mr Slater-Dickson was being detained by Mr Batterham and his friend, a 32-year-old who was visiting from Queensland.
Mr Slater-Dickson suffered serious injuries, however the Herald can confirm his neck was not broken
Mr Slater-Dickson lost consciousness a short time later. He was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital.
His life support machine was switched off the following day and Mr Batterham was charged with murder.
The Herald understands Mr Batterham will claim he acted in self defence and that he was also defending his property and his family.
It’s believed Mr Batterham and his friend had been celebrating Mr Batterham’s 33rd birthday on the night of March 25 but there was no party at the home and Mr Batterham and Mr Slater-Dickson did not know each other.