Mur­der not guilty plea

Lara killing ac­cused off to Supreme Court

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - RUSTY WOODGER

AN ac­cused killer has pleaded not guilty to mur­der­ing Mathew Baum in Lara ear­lier this year.

Michael Al­lan Ack­er­ley, 49, ap­peared on Fri­day at Geelong Mag­is­trates’ Court where he for­mally en­tered a plea to the mur­der charge.

The Lara man has been in cus­tody since Fe­bru­ary when it is al­leged he killed Mr Baum at a Pat­ul­los Road prop­erty.

Mr Baum, 41, was found with stab wounds af­ter emer­gency ser­vices were called to the prop­erty in the early hours of Fe­bru­ary 10 this year. Mr Baum died at the scene. Mr Ack­er­ley is ac­cused of mur­der­ing Mr Baum be­tween Fe­bru­ary 9 and 10.

Wear­ing a black long-sleeve shirt, Mr Ack­er­ley ap­peared in court on Fri­day via video link from a re­mand cen­tre.

He spoke only briefly to con­firm he could see and hear the pro­ceed­ings, and to en­ter his plea to the mur­der charge, stat­ing: “Not guilty.”

Mr Baum is un­der­stood to have been liv­ing at the Pat­ul­los Road prop­erty at the time of the al­leged mur­der.

The 1.6ha prop­erty had been the site of an il­le­gal dump­ing op­er­a­tion, with clean-up or­ders dat­ing back to Oc­to­ber last year.

The En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity or­dered the site be cleaned up by Jan­uary 10, but moun­tains of waste were still vis­i­ble a month past the dead­line, when Mr Baum was al­legedly mur­dered.

Prior to his death, Mr Baum was a keen crick­eter and had been play­ing for North Geelong Cricket Club.

De­fence lawyer Jar­rod Wil­liams told the court on Fri­day that Mr Ack­er­ley in­tended to take ad­van­tage of a new process to fast-track homi­cide mat­ters to the Supreme Court.

It means a com­mit­tal hear­ing in the Mag­is­trates’ Court will be skipped in favour of pre-trial pro­ceed­ings to be heard in the higher court.

Mr Wil­liams said the de­fence was in­tend­ing to lodge an ap­pli­ca­tion to cross-ex­am­ine wit­nesses once the case reached the Supreme Court.

Mag­is­trate Ann McGarvie re­manded Mr Ack­er­ley in cus­tody un­til a di­rec­tions hear­ing at the Supreme Court on July 31.

Mathew Baum

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