Aussie Man Found Not Guilty Of Murdering Home Intruder
An Australian court has found a man not guilty of murdering another man who broke into his home.
Benjamin Batterham was accused of killing Ricky Slater after he broke into his Newcastle home in 2016.
The court was told Slater, 34, was high on a lethal level of ice and armed with three knives at the time of the home invasion. The accused discovered Slater had entered his home through a side door and even went inside the bedroom of his seven-month-old daughter, according to news.com.au.
The 35-year-old chased Slater out of the home and 330 metres down the street.
A struggle ensued and Slater suffered three heart attacks and died after being transported to hospital, according to the ABC.
After the incident, Mr Batterham was charged with murder and was also facing a backup charge of manslaughter.
Prosecutors argued that the accused went too far during that fateful night in March three years ago. They also said that the chef's actions caused Slater to die.
However Mr Batterham's lawyers replied that it was the toxic levels of meth in his system, in addition to organ failure as a result of obesity, and an undiagnosed heart condition caused his death.
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The chokehold was a major focus during the two week trial.
Normally, that would be considered common assault, however Justice Desmond Fagan and the jury had to work out whether that was a part of Mr Batterham's citizen arrest of Slater or an unlawful act.
Slater bit him during their struggle and yelled at Mr Batterham: "Get off me. You're hurting my arm."
By the time officers arrived at the scene, Slater was motionless, according to news.com.au. He reportedly yelled that he couldn't breathe shortly before going unconscious.
According to the ABC, Justice Desmond Fagan ruled that a chokehold was understandable if it was used to avoid being bitten or attacked.
During the trial, a letter from Mr Batterham was read out to the court, which said: "I wanted to apprehend him and get back what was stolen. I was only trying to keep him from getting away...he bit me on the right arm.
"All I wanted was for him was to stop."
When the not guilty verdict was read out for both murder and manslaughter, Slater's family erupted in anger. Slater's mother, Beryl Dickson, was fuming outside Newcastle Supreme Court yesterday, saying: "My son was choked by that b*****d!"
"Look over your back for the rest of your f***ing life you motherf***er!"
The jury took three days to come to their conclusion.
Featured Image Credit: ABC