A man accused of chasing down and murdering a burglar he found in his home has been arrested again – this time for allegedly being drunk behind the wheel and in breach of his $200,000 bail.
But Benjamin Patrick Batterham is also back out on the streets after he successfully applied for release following his arrest in Newcastle early on Saturday morning.
The decision has angered senior police.
Police will allege Mr Batterham failed to stop at a breath testing station at New Lambton before being stopped in a nearby suburb about 12.40am.
He is alleged to have registered a blood alcohol level of 0.164 and was also charged with failing to obey a police direction and breaching his bail.
Mr Batterham had been on strict bail conditions, including that he not consume alcohol, after being charged with the murder of Ricky Slater-Dickson on March 26, 2016.
Previous court appearances have heard Mr Batterham found the alleged victim stealing a handbag from inside his family’s home at Hamilton in Newcastle about 3.20am while Mr Batterham was drinking with a friend.
He is alleged to have chased Mr Slater-Dickson for “more than four football fields” before tackling him to the ground, punching him repeatedly in the head while having his arm around the burglar’s throat.
Mr Slater-Dickson lost consciousness and died in hospital the following day.
Mr Batterham was granted bail on the murder charge with a list of strict conditions, including that he report daily to police and not consume alcohol or any illicit drug.
He was also ordered to take Antabuse – a drug used to treat chronic alcoholism by producing nasty side effects to the patient – as prescribed by his doctor.
His parents, Bruce and Dianne, lodged the title deeds of their home to the court as security for the $200,000 surety.
Mr Batterham was refused bail by police following his arrest on Friday before he faced Newcastle bail court the following day.
He was again released on bail including the conditions that he “strictly take the Antibuse [sic] medication prescribed by his doctor” and not to consume any alcohol.
He is due to face Newcastle Local Court again on Thursday.
A committal hearing on the murder charge is set down for May.