DETECTIVES have upgraded the charges against a Nundle man to manslaughter, after the death of a woman last year.
Neil Douglas Morris appeared in Tamworth Local Court on Wednesday where a fresh charge of manslaughter was laid in court.
The upgraded charge also triggered a bail application, with prosecutors seeking he be placed on bail conditions because of the seriousness of the charge.
Morris was first charged last year following investigations by Strike Force Cumbora which was set up to examine the death of a 75-year-old woman from Nundle in July 2017.
He was already facing a charge of failing to provide the necessities of life but DPP solicitor Cat McKay withdrew the offence and it was formally dismissed, once the upgraded charge was laid on Wednesday.
“There is a detention application,” Ms McKay told the court.
“It’s not a detention application to have the accused remanded in custody.”
It’s not a detention application to have the accused remanded in custody.- DPP solicitor Cat McKay
Rather, she said, it was to have Morris “entered into bail”, to have him reside in Nundle and not to approach any prosecution witnesses.
The manslaughter charge is a show cause offence meaning Morris needed to show why his detention was not justified.
Solicitor Kevin Carr said he had medical “certificates and other material” in support of why he should remain in the community.“My client is not a well man,” Mr Carr said.
“He suffers from a heart condition.”
Magistrate Julie Soars said she “should grant bail” and found that “show cause is made out”.
“Nothing else on his record,” she said.
“Given that bail is not opposed, given that Mr Morris does not appear to be a flight risk, given that he has attended court, I think this is the seventh occasion.
"I should grant conditional bail.”
The woman died three days after she was rushed to Tamworth hospital from her Nundle home with serious injuries.
Given that bail is not opposed, given that Mr Morris does not appear to be a flight risk, given that he has attended court, I think this is the seventh occasion.- Magistrate Julie Soars
At the time, police said a community nurse had attended the house and called for urgent assistance on July 13, 2017, before the woman was rushed to hospital by ambulance.
She was placed into a specialist ward but died from her injuries three days later.
Since the first charge was laid, police have not detailed the nature of the woman’s injuries, only confirming the wounds were “serious”.
Following several months of investigations and an autopsy, detectives charged Morris with failing to provide the necessities of life before Wednesday’s upgraded charge.
Police allege Morris was known to the woman.
A section 91 hearing was also flagged with the court on Wednesday meaning the defence were seeking to have witnesses called in the local court to test the evidence to determine if there was enough to see the matter committed for trial.
Ms McKay requested “a timetable could be set for submissions” to allow each side three weeks to file and serve their arguments before Ms Soars determines if a contested committal hearing is needed.
The case was adjourned to September.