The case against a teenager accused of murdering Long Gully baby Zayden Veal-Whitting in June last year has been put on hold while the court awaits a DNA report.
Harley Hicks, 19, of North Bendigo, was charged with the murder in September last year while serving time in youth detention for burglaries and theft.
His case was booked in for a committal mention in the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday and Hicks’s lawyer Sam Norton attended on his behalf this morning.
The court heard Hicks could not appear in court due to lack of video facilities at his youth justice centre.
Mr Norton said there was a joint application to adjourn the matter because two “very significant reports” were missing from the prosecution brief, the pathologist report and DNA report.
“I’m instructed that by March 20 they will have been served to the defence,” he said.
Prosecutor Catherine Boston said DNA reports typically took six weeks and were usually only ordered when a committal had been booked in.
Magistrate William Gibb agreed it was common for the court to experience a delay because of DNA evidence.
Mr Gibb remanded Hicks to appear in the same court on March 20 for a further committal mention.
He asked Mr Norton to properly inform Hicks what had occurred in court.
Hicks – who reportedly has a mild intellectual disability – became the prime suspect in Zayden’s murder after forensic evidence cleared the boy’s parents of killing him.
Police were called to Zayden’s home in Eaglehawk Road, Long Gully, after a reported burglary about 7am on June 15.
But as police were on their way to the house they received another call to say Zayden had been taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Zayden, who is believed to have suffered head injuries, later died.
Hicks is currently serving a sentence of 12 months’ youth detention after pleading guilty to 23 offences including burglary, aggravated burglary and theft committed between May 16 and June 15 in Long Gully, Bendigo and Bendigo North.
He had denied any involvement in the baby’s death.