A MAN has been cleared of the manslaughter of his fiancee near Tamworth after a legal battle spanning almost four years.
Neil Douglas Morris' defence team had applied for a permanent stay of proceedings, which was granted in the NSW District Court in Sydney on Wednesday.
The Leader can reveal the development in the case after an overarching suppression order was lifted in court on Wednesday.
It had been the police case that Mr Morris had contributed to the death of his fiancee, aged 75, in July 2017, in Nundle.
A wound on the 75-year-old victim's back had decayed so much that her spinal bones were visible by the time she was rushed to Tamworth hospital, where doctors decided they were too severe to survive and placed her in palliative care.
The wound on her back was likely present for months, a coroner's report showed.
The victim died on July 16, 2017, in Tamworth hospital, three days after she was admitted.
The non-publication order was placed on the case last year after toing-and-froing with pleas in the manslaughter case, before a trial was abandoned for legal reasons.
Judge Warwick Hunt delivered his judgement on Wednesday in Sydney's Downing Centre District Court, ruling that a permanent stay of proceedings for the manslaughter offence, which was domestic violence-related, be granted. It means the case has been finalised with no further proceedings against the accused.
Judge Hunt ordered his bail to be dispensed.
Mr Morris' criminal culpability had been the subject of legal argument by a judge during a hearing in 2019 in Tamworth District Court.
At the time, the hearing heard that Mr Morris' culpability centered on a 53-minute window.
The judge had been examining whether Mr Morris had been negligent in not calling an ambulance or providing food and water in the days before she was taken to hospital; and whether his failure to do so had been because of her wishes not to go to hospital.
By the time a community nurse arrived at the Nundle property on July 13, the victim had deteriorated to the point where she had "sunken eyes" and was covered in "small, midge-like insects". Her legs wept fluid onto the floor, police evidence showed.
The Crown had previously argued that Mr Morris didn't take the steps between July 6 and 13, that year, to seek outside medical attention, and that the victim did not have the capacity to think for herself.
Last year, a Tamworth judge ruled against a defence application for a judge-alone trial, and found that it was in the interests of justice for the case to be heard by a jury.
The case was moved to Sydney, and a four week trial had been foreshadowed, after the Director of Public Prosecutions rejected the no bill application to dismiss the case.
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