A top criminal lawyer has vowed to get murder accused Ben Batterham released from prison, as it is revealed he was covered in bite marks after he “detained” an alleged thief found inside his home.
Mr Batterham, from Newcastle, north of Sydney, has been imprisoned at Cessnock Correctional Centre since being charged with the murder of Richard James Slater on March 27.
The father-of-one made no application for bail when he case was mentioned in court last week, but high-profile criminal lawyer Winston Terracini SC, who visited the prison on Tuesday with barrister Brian Murray, has taken over and vowed to make an application for bail “as urgently as possible”, the Newcastle Herald reported.
Mr Terracini SC, who has also represented high-profile clients like Harriet Wran, said Mr Batterham’s family are organising a surety, while he has applied for a forensic pathologist to review the post mortem examination on Slater.
The 33-year-old was reportedly heard on a Triple zero call threatening to kill Slater, known to his family as Ricky, after he found the convicted criminal standing near his young daughter’s bedroom at about 3.30am on March 26.
His arrest has caused significant outrage in the community, with thousands of people signing a petition demanding his immediate release.
Many have claimed that the father-of-one was simply defending his home and family after the convicted sex offender allegedly broke in.
The house where Mr Slater-Dickson was found with a broken neck. Police are investigating where he was when he was tackled.
It was initially reported that a fight broke out between Mr Batterham and Slater – who was understood to have been put in a choke hold on the street until police arrived.
However, a tripe zero recording that was obtained by the Daily Telegraph indicates that Mr Batterham could be heard threatening the intruder before a drawn out fight ensued.
According to the Newcastle Herald, Mr Batterham sustained a number of injuries in the altercation, including several bite marks to his body.
Slater lost consciousness in front of Mr Batterham’s home following the brawl and was rushed to John Hunter Hospital where doctors found that his brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long.
His family turned off his life support and Mr Batterham’s grievous bodily harm charge was upgraded to murder.
The father-of-one’s was expected to remain behind bars until his case is heard again in court on May 25, but Mr Terracini SC has vowed to have his release “expedited”.