By Luke Voogt
Angela Surtees fronted Supreme Court today charged with murdering her husband, Daniel Surtees, at their Whittington home on January 25.
Ms Surtees has been in custody since police charged her with murdering Mr Surtees.
It is alleged she poured petrol on the 36-year-old before setting him alight as he slept on a chair at their property.
Police attended their home on Boundary Road about 8.30pm on January 25 and found Mr Surtees with serious burns.
Paramedics rushed him to hospital but he died of his injuries on January 26. The following day Arson and Explosives Squad detectives charged Ms Surtees with murder.
Ms Surtees entered a plea of not guilty at Geelong Magistrates’ Court on May 29. She did not change her plea during the brief hearing this morning.
Initially the case had been scheduled for a committal hearing in Magistrates’ Court in November.
Normally, homicide matters must go through a committal hearing in the Magistrates’ Court before an accused can be committed to stand trial.
But significant delays due to a growing backlog of cases linked to COVID-19 restrictions prompted Supreme Court earlier this year to begin conducting certain pre-trial hearings.
Conducting these hearings in Supreme Court will allow certain cases to reach trial sooner. Ms Surtees’ case is among those being fast-tracked in this manner.
Ms Surtees will reappear at 9.15am on July 31 for a further directions hearing, where a Supreme Court judge will likely set a date for a pre-trial argument.
As Ms Surtees did not have a Magistrates’ Court committal, this pre-trial argument will allow defence and prosecution lawyers to cross-examine witnesses as they normally would in a regular committal.