“Even if it is assumed that the applicant knows where the body is, there is no basis for assuming that he is likely to go to the place to remove or disturb evidence, as the police have so far not been able to locate the body. Under the circumstances, the claim is somewhat speculative. ”
Justice Niall said a psychiatrist treating Newman believed the man’s mental health was deteriorating while he was in custody. Despite the man’s history of gambling and drug abuse, he was described in court as a “morally healthy young man” who was not at risk of further violation.
The judge said he considered the serious nature of the charge, the significant delays likely to occur before the case is reached in court, and the burdensome conditions in custody during the pandemic.
“While it can not be said that there is no risk, the risk posed can be improved by imposing conditions,” he said.
Newman, who saw cases via video link from custody, did not speak during the hearing, except to confirm that he understood the conditions imposed. He will live with his mother while he is on bail.
On Wednesday, Detective Senior Constable Stewart said police believed Ms. Hamka was dead.
“I am determined by the strong conviction that she is unfortunately no longer with us,” he said. “I think she’s dead.”
Prosecutor Mark Rochford, QC, said there was a strong case against Mr Newman, who allegedly hired a high-pressure cleaner and took chemicals and petrol to Mr Loughnane’s home after Mrs Hamka was allegedly murdered on 11 April.
He assessed that Mr Newman might not be prosecuted until 2023, but said the case against the man was “strong”, and predicted he would face a significant prison sentence if convicted.
However, Newman’s attorney Greg Melick described the case against Newman as “a circumstance case based on a circumstance case”.
Melick said concerns that Newman would manipulate the body were “imaginative.”
“Why would he risk going anywhere near it, even though he knows where it is?” he said.
He said there were huge backlogs to be dealt with in the justice system and his client could expect more pending trial than the sentence he would have to face if convicted.
Newman first applied for bail in September. During this hearing, police claimed that Mr Loughnane got help from Mr Newman to clean up the crime scene because the younger man had a gambling addiction and owed him a significant debt.
Loughnane allegedly murdered Mrs Hamka at her home in Brighton on April 11, a day after she was last seen. CCTV footage allegedly shows Newman was at the address for five hours on April 12 when police believe the body was inside the house.
Investigators believe the body was moved in the early hours of April 13. Police claim Newman lent his red Mazda to Mr Loughnane, who used the car to dispose of Mrs Hamka’s remains. A forensic examination identified Ms Hamka’s blood in the car.
Newman and Loughnane will then appear in court on December 3rd.
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