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DNA tests slow baby death case

The case against a teenager accused of murdering a baby is on hold while the courts await the result of DNA tests.

Harley Hicks, 19, of North Bendigo, is accused of murdering Long Gully baby Zayden Veal-Whitting in June last year.

Hicks was charged with the murder in September, while serving time in youth detention for burglaries and theft.

His case was booked in for a committal mention in the Bendigo Magistrates Court today, and Hicks' lawyer Sam Norton appeared on his behalf this morning.

The court heard Hicks could not appear in court due to lack of video facilities at his youth justice centre.

Mr Norton said there was a joint application to adjourn the matter because two “very significant reports” were missing from the prosecution brief, the pathologist report and DNA report.


“I'm instructed that by March 20 they will have been served to the defence,” he said.

Prosecutor Catherine Boston said DNA reports typically took six weeks and were usually only ordered when a committal had been booked in.

Magistrate William Gibb agreed it was common for the court to experience a delay because of DNA evidence.

Mr Gibb remanded Hicks to appear in the same court on March 20 for a further committal mention.

He asked Mr Norton to properly inform Hicks what had occurred in court in his absence.

Hicks became the prime suspect in Zayden's murder after forensic evidence cleared the boy's parents of killing him.

Police were called to Zayden's home in Eaglehawk Road, Long Gully, after a reported burglary about 7am on June 15.

But as police were on their way to the house they received a further call to say Zayden had been taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Zayden, who is believed to have suffered head injuries, later died.

Hicks has denied any involvement in the baby's death.