Maree Van Beers was allegedly fatally stabbed by her ex-partner in Tweed Heads in 2018.
Maree Van Beers was allegedly fatally stabbed by her ex-partner in Tweed Heads in 2018.

Murder trial continues despite accused's health concerns

UPDATE, 4.30pm: THE murder trial of a Tweed Heads man accused of killing his ex-partner will continue despite concern over his health.

Earlier today the court heard Paul Thomas Ryan, 66, who is accused of fatally stabbing his ex-partner Maree Van Beers in their Tweed Heads home in November 2018, hadn't received his appropriate medication and was potentially in too much pain to continue the trial.

Mr Ryan has pleaded not guilty to murder.

The court earlier on Tuesday had heard Mr Ryan was unable to attend the court because he was suffering immense pain after not receiving his normal medication after being transported from Clarence Correctional Centre to Lismore Courthouse.

Justice Richard Button told the court he had received information from medical officers Mr Ryan's health could have also deteriorated after he was required to climb stairs at the courthouse yesterday, which he is usually unable to do due to his health.

He said he'd been told Mr Ryan was only prescribed Panadol and Panadeine, and not opioid based medication as previously indicated to the court.

"It's possible those records are wrong or out of date, (or he was prescribed different) medication at a different jail," Justice Button said.

The court heard Corrective Services were able to locate a wheelchair to assist Mr Ryan into the courtroom without him having to use the stairs.

Justice Button ordered the trial to continue, and has allowed Mr Ryan to sit in his walker beside the dock to ensure he is comfortable during the expected three-week trial.

 

Original story: A TWEED Heads man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-partner is too unwell to attend his murder trial, a court has heard.

Paul Thomas Ryan, 66, is on trial for murder before the Lismore Supreme Court.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Mr Ryan is accused of stabbing his former partner, 63-year-old Maree Van Beers between 36 to 37 times in their shared unit on Brett St, Tweed Heads, on November 12, 2018.

The pair, who had been together for 37-years, had separated about two years before Ms Van Beers' death but continued to live together.

The prosecution alleges Ms Van Beers had planned to travel to Taree the next day to find accommodation with her new partner.

 

Police at the scene of an alleged murder at Tweed Heads. Picture: Brianna Morris-Grant
Police at the scene of an alleged murder at Tweed Heads. Picture: Brianna Morris-Grant

 

The same day as Ms Van Beers died, she had successfully taken out an apprehended violence order against Mr Ryan in the Tweed Heads Local Court.

Mr Ryan's defence barrister, Jason Watts, told the court on Tuesday his client was unable to attend the second day of the trial because he was "in very great pain".

Mr Watts said his client this morning had informed him he wasn't even able to use the toilet in his cell because he was physically incapable.

The court heard Mr Ryan since being transported by corrective services to Lismore on Monday had not received his normal medication, which included an opioid treatment plain for his condition.

"The pain was greater than he had experience before, the stairs he had to negotiate yesterday were almost impossible," Mr Watts said.

 

Police at the scene of an alleged murder at Tweed Heads. Picture: Brianna Morris-Grant
Police at the scene of an alleged murder at Tweed Heads. Picture: Brianna Morris-Grant

 

"He complained yesterday morning he had not received his medication during the transport and appeared to be agitated.

"I spoke to him before and after and he did not appear to be in any pain or discomfort. That's a big different to today."

Mr Watts suggested Mr Ryan could be transferred back to Clarence Correctional Centre to receive his medication and use the video link there for the remainder of the trial.

Justice Richard Button said he would need a medical certificate to prove Mr Ryan's condition was so severe he could not sit through the trial before he decided as to how to proceed.

"Experience has shown to me that very often people find the process of sitting through a murder trial very psychologically difficult especially they're accused of murdering someone they love," Justice Button said.

"In the absence of medical evidence of this man's condition, I'm very reluctant to adjourn a trial for any substantial period."

Justice Button said he would not object to Mr Ryan attending court in a wheelchair or using cushions on the dock to alleviate his pain.

The trial will resume at midday, where it is expected Mr Ryan will attend and Justice Button will decide on how to proceed.



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