Crucial test delays in death of former Coast man
THE CROWN case against two Ballina men charged over a suspicious death in the town has been bogged down due to delays in a crucial post mortem report.
Ballina Local Court heard on Thursday the prosecution is still waiting for a neuropathologist to assess the precise cause of death of Aaron Marks, who suffered fatal injuries on a Ballina street after a mysterious incident in May.
The former Sunshine Coast resident aged 38 was visiting Ballina when he was found unconscious on the side of River St in the early hours of Sunday May 13, a few hours after he was witnessed making merry at the Hotel Henry Rous, which included shouting strangers drinks and tipping bar staff.
He never regained consciousness and died in Gold Coast University Hospital three days later.
In June Bradley Presbury, now 23, and Justin Anderson, 27, were charged with manslaughter over Mr Marks death.
Presbury was also charged with assault causing death and supplying a prohibited drug.
Police have not commented on the exact circumstances of Mr Marks' death or any alleged motive, other than to say the pair allegedly "contributed to the death" of Mr Marks.
They were also drinking at the Henry Rous on the night of his death.
Presbury and Anderson remain on remand behind bars and were excused from appearing on Thursday when the matter was mentioned in Ballina Local Court.
The court heard a neuropathologist report was still missing from the prosecution's brief of evidence.
"The difficulty is it's with the Queensland jurisdiction and not NSW," Police prosecutor Sergeant Alissia Kennedy said.
Sgt Kennedy said there was only one forensic neuropathologist available in Queensland and there was a significant backlog.
"The neuropathologist will be examining the brain and on that basis a (postmortem) report will be constructed," she explained.
"They can't give a precise time frame but have indicated within two to three months.
Sgt Kennedy requested the "longest adjournment possible", of three months, to allow the report to be completed.
Magistrate Karen Stafford agreed to adjourn the matter until February 21 due to "exceptional circumstances" to allow the brief of evidence to be completed.
"In this matter I note that (cause of death) is the issue and the neuropathologist report is essential for establishing that."
Both men are to appear via video link on February 21 with the matter returning to Ballina Local Court.