Benjamin Batterham granted bail: alleged murder of Ricky Slater-Dickson at Hamilton

A man accused of murdering an intruder he found in his Newcastle home has been granted strict bail for the second time after he was allegedly caught drink-driving.

Benjamin Batterham, 35, was charged with murder in March 2016 after he allegedly found Ricky Slater-Dickson inside his house and chased him on to the street.

It is alleged Mr Batterham caught up with Mr Slater-Dickson, tackled him, held him in a choke-hold, and hit him on the head for a "prolonged period" as onlookers including an off-duty police officer tried to intervene.

Mr Slater-Dickson was taken to John Hunter Hospital, where he died.

Mr Batterham was originally granted bail in May 2016, with multiple conditions including a ban on drinking alcohol.

However, his bail was revoked in February this year after he allegedly failed to stop for a random breath test in January while he had a high-range blood alcohol reading of .164.

On Thursday, a Supreme Court bail hearing heard Mr Batterham claimed to police who had pulled him over that he had consumed one drink.

However the manager of the pub where he had been drinking said he was a regular patron who usually drank up to six beers and stayed until closing time.

Giving evidence at the hearing, Mr Batterham said he had been "selfish" and had learnt from his mistakes.

He said he would not drink alcohol again and planned to see his doctor and psychologist regularly if he was released.

"It's not something I see myself doing, consuming alcohol. I've hurt my family, hurt myself," Mr Batterham said.

"Hand on my heart, I'm not going to go near anything that's going to get me into trouble."

His barrister Winston Terracini, SC, said Mr Batterham suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and lost his job as an apprentice chef due to his drinking.

"In layman's terms, he had a nervous breakdown after he was charged," Mr Terracini said. "He's had death threats.

"No one knows precisely how the deceased died, whether it was methamphetamines found in his system, a heart attack, or the ill-treatment rendered to him by the applicant who found him in his home."

In granting bail, Justice David Davies said the circumstances of the case were "unusual". He said he was prepared to accept Mr Batterham had a "very honest intention of never consuming alcohol again".

"It would be fair to say that, although in the first instance what occurred was not at the applicant's instigation, his behaviour towards the deceased was violent and prolonged," Justice Davies said.

"Despite having engaged in that, it is clear the applicant has suffered very considerably emotionally as a result of all that has occurred, including the death of the deceased and his being charged with murder.

"In those circumstances he turned to alcohol, as one often hears is the case.

"Mr Batterham, you'd have to regard this as your very last chance. If you breach bail again, you'll be back inside until the trial takes place."

Mr Batterham was granted bail on strict conditions including that he see a psychologist within 48 hours, report daily to Waratah police station, not go to any premises where alcohol is sold, and remain at home between 8pm and 6am unless he is in the company of his partner or his parents.

His parents also agreed to forfeit the sum of $200,000 if he fails to appear in court.

The case will return to court for a committal hearing later this month.