Midwife ‘distressed’ by case resulting from fatal home birth
A MULLUMBIMBY midwife charged with being jointly responsible for the death of a Victorian mother has been "very distressed" by the proceedings against her, a court has heard.
Mullumbimby woman Melody Ballanda Bourne, 44, and Gaye Marion Demanuele, 59, from the Victorian suburb of Preston, have each been charged with causing the death of Caroline Lovell by negligently failing to provide adequate midwifery care in Watsonia, Victoria, on January 23, 2012.
The pair appeared in an online hearing before Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Magistrate Tara Hartnett said the legal representation for both accused had requested a further mention, with the next available date January 11.
Prosecutor Honorah Edwards told the court there had been an outstanding statement relating to the allegations against Ms Bourne.
Ms Edwards did not oppose the adjournment sought by Ms Bourne's lawyer.
"What is opposed is the time being sought by Ms Bourne," she said.
Ms Bourne's lawyer, Madeleine Smith, said they sought an adjournment until the new year because of the "voluminous" material related to the case.
"The application for an adjournment is really based on the fact that there is a significant amount of material that the court would be assisted by Ms Bourne's legal representatives (being able to) properly review," Ms Smith said.
"What is sought by way of the adjournment is simply to give the defence a proper opportunity to digest the material."
The court heard the brief of evidence was served upon the defence by the due date of October 16.
Ms Smith said a particular issue that arose in a statement only made available this month would relate to "a central issue" of the case.
"I note this matter has been through an inquest," Ms Smith said.
"I think there's 19 days of transcripts there."
She said it would be important for the defence to go through that material.
"Ms Bourne is very distressed by these proceedings and has been for the entire duration," Ms Smith said.
"She was present at the inquest and was represented therein."
Ms Hartnett adjourned the case to January 11.
"I would hope that well before that time, there has been discussion between the defence and prosecution about any outstanding material, any matters related to inquest transcripts and so forth," she said.
The court heard Ms Demanuele had opted for her case to proceed via a fast track process, while Ms Bourne does not wish to pursue this route.
Neither of the accused have entered a formal plea.