A WOMAN who was accused of setting her ex-partner on fire during a domestic dispute at Hamilton South has had the charge against her dropped after the man died from unrelated causes more than a year later.
Lawyers for Bianca French, 30, were preparing to run a self-defence case at a trial in Newcastle District Court in November and had planned to call evidence to show her ex-partner, Paul Michael Green, had a tendency to commit acts of domestic violence and intimidation towards Ms French, according to a tendency notice filed in court. Mr Green, known as “Ducky”, died on July 30 this year.
His death came more than a year after he went into a coma for four days and suffered “serious and life-threatening injuries” and burns to more than 20 per cent of his body after being allegedly set on fire by Ms French at a unit in Triumph Way.
But rather than have the charges against her upgraded to reflect Mr Green’s demise, Ms French’s matter was mentioned in Newcastle District Court on Thursday where a DPP solicitor told Judge Roy Ellis there would be no further proceedings.
“The DPP has directed there will be no further proceedings,” Mr Ellis said.
“The accused, Ms French, is discharged.”
The trial, which was due to begin on November 13 and run for five days, was vacated. Neither Ms French, who is represented by Public Defender Peter Krisenthal and solicitor Kate Maher, or Mr Green’s family were in court on Thursday.
At first glance it appeared to be a particularly callous crime; a woman accused of pouring petrol on her partner and then setting him alight.
But, according to the defence tendency notice, the case against Bianca French needed to be viewed in the context of a volatile and violent domestic relationship that was underscored by numerous visits from police, assaults, intimidation, criminal charges, apprehended violence orders and breaches of those orders.
The defence claimed Mr Green had a tendency to be jealous and accuse Ms French of infidelities, to attend Ms French’s home uninvited and in breach of an apprehended violence order, to physically assault her by punching her in the head or pulling her hair and to choke or suffocate her.
To support their claim, the defence provided court attendance notices and police fact sheets for six separate acts of violence or AVO breaches as well as COPS (the internal police system) event entries detailing similar instances when the police were called but Ms French declined to take the matter further.
The defence said the evidence was relevant because some of those tendencies had played out in the days before Mr Green was set on fire on May 11, 2017.
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