Did accused Lismore murderer act in self defence?
AN EAST Lismore man accused of the murder of his neighbour during a fight outside their homes has appeared in court for the first time after being granted bail last month.
Nicholas Paul Howland, 61, is alleged by police to have murdered 51-year-old David Anthony Marriott during an altercation between the two men on the Friday afternoon of September 2 this year.
The pair lived next door to each other in a single storey unit complex in College St, East Lismore.
Howland, an avid cyclist, was granted bail over the charges on November 10 by Lismore Local Court magistrate David Heilpern who, during the lengthy bail application hearing, described the prosecution case as "weak”.
One of the questions raised at that hearing by Howland's legal aid solicitor was whether he was acting in self-defence when the fight broke out.
The other crucial question was if prior medical circumstances contributed to Marriott's sudden death.
On Tuesday this week it was revealed in court the crucial coroner's report into Mr Marriott's death had been finalised, although the details of the report remain under wraps.
The prosecutor also told Magistrate Heilpern that there would also be subsequent reports by a forensic pathologist and a cardiologist.
These reports could form critical evidence in the trial of Howland, expected in the second half of 2017.
The matter was adjourned until February 21, with the remaining brief of evidence due by February 7.
Bail conditions on the Howland will continue, which include daily reports to the Lismore police station and avoiding intentional contact with Mr Marriott's family.