ACCUSED murderer Benjamin Batterham will face a committal hearing in Newcastle Local Court in a bid to determine, among other things, the cause of death of his alleged victim, Ricky Slater-Dickson.
Mr Batterham, 34, formerly of Cleary Street, Hamilton, was again excused from attending Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday.
He has not entered a plea to a charge of murder.
A committal hearing is a proceeding in the local court, before a charge is heard in the district court or supreme court, where the evidence is tested and a magistrate makes a determination whether or not the prosecution has enough for the case to be committed for trial.
Mr Batterham is accused of murdering Mr Slater-Dickson after Mr Slater-Dickson broke into his Cleary Street home about 3.20am on March 26 last year.
Mr Batterham spent six weeks in custody before he was granted conditional bail.
The committal hearing is expected to run for a full day in November.