Baby murder accused wants trial moved

A man accused of murdering a baby during a home burglary in Bendigo wants his trial moved to Melbourne because of publicity surrounding the case.

Harley Hicks, 20, of North Bendigo, appeared briefly in the Supreme Court on Monday charged with murdering 11-month-old Zayden Veal on June 15 last year.

Defence lawyer David Hallowes told Justice Lex Lasry that the main issue at Hicks’ trial would be who killed the baby.

He said Hicks was initially interviewed by the Bendigo criminal investigation unit after his arrest about the home burglary and not the death of the baby, which raised issues about the fairness of the police interview.

Crown prosecutor Michele Williams, SC, opposed the defence application to have the trial moved from Bendigo to Melbourne.

Ms Williams said 52 witnesses would be called to what was expected to be a four-week trial and and they all came from Bendigo.

Justice Lasry adjourned the case to December 16 for discussion on the change of venue application.

During a committal hearing in Bendigo Magistrates Court early this month, court documents revealed Hicks had blamed his friend for the alleged murder and suggested the killing may have been related to a conflict over drugs.

Hicks told an undercover police officer his friend Aiden Kirby had been in conflict with Zayden’s family and killed the baby as a result.

“Hicks recalled he last saw Kirby walking toward the house where the infant was murdered,” the undercover officer said in a statement tendered to the court.

“Hicks said that Kirby used to purchase drugs from the dead infant’s parents and believed that there could have been some issues between the parties which resulted in Kirby murdering their child.”

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