Murder not guilty plea
Lara killing accused off to Supreme Court
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.