Miscommunication has been blamed for Ross Albert Merrick’s failure to appear at Newcastle Local Court to face a murder charge.
Merrick, who was charged over the death of Ashtonfield woman Marika Ninness, was to appear in court yesterday.
The court heard that defence and prosecution representatives had agreed earlier this week to ask that Merrick be excused from yesterday’s scheduled appearance, but there was confusion and nobody contacted the court.
Magistrate Rob Stone said it was important that Merrick appeared when required, given that he was released from custody on bail in December.
“I accept there might have been a mix up and I will give him the benefit of the doubt for that,” he said.
Defence for Merrick said another complicating factor was that his bail conditions meant he could not live within 100 kilometres of his home in the Hunter.
The court heard that police also had more information to put before the court.
Mr Stone adjourned the matter to February 19.