A MAN will stand trial accused of the manslaughter of a Nundle woman last year.
Neil Douglas Morris appeared in Tamworth District Court for an arraignment hearing on Friday morning, accused of unlawfully killing the woman on July 16, 2017 in Tamworth.
“Not guilty,” Morris replied.
Judge Jeffery McLennan said on his reading of the court documents, the matter was obviously going to involve “a number of significant expert witnesses”.
“I can indicate we will have an expert witness,” solicitor Kevin Carr said.
The Crown estimated the trial would run for five days, but Judge McLennan said “with respect, the Crown is way off the mark”.
Mr Carr said his “estimate is at least two weeks”.
“I would think three weeks would be more realistic,” Judge McLennan said.
He said based on court documents “this is manslaughter without omission” where the case centred on “certain observed conditions” of the deceased and whether they were “observal features” that were causal to the death.
I would think three weeks would be more realistic.Judge Jeffery McLennan
Judge McLennan said a three-week trial would take almost all the four-week block sittings in Tamworth District Court, and would not be heard before the end of 2019.
But “there are two obvious locations” in Sydney or Newcastle, which sit full-time, he said.
Judge McLennan adjourned the case to determine a time and location for the trial.
“His bail will continue,” he said.
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Morris was first charged last year after investigations by Strike Force Cumbora, which was set up to examine the death of a 75-year-old woman from Nundle in July 2017.
The woman died three days after she was rushed from her Nundle home to Tamworth hospital with serious injuries.
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”.
After several months of investigations and an autopsy, detectives charged Morris with failing to provide the necessities of life, before upgrading the charge in August.
Police allege Morris was known to the woman.