National

Manslaughter-accused bailed over COVID-19

By AAP Newswire

A teenager accused of helping to kill a man with brittle bone disease in Victoria has been granted bail because of coronavirus.

The 19-year-old is charged with the manslaughter of John Bourke at his Maryborough home in July 2018.

The teen, who cannot be named because he was underage at the time, is being released from youth custody because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jail restrictions brought in to help prevent the spread of the virus mean his family can no longer visit him and he cannot continue studying behind bars.

The Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday ruled broad community restrictions, including on gatherings of more than two people, would help reinforce the teen's bail conditions.

"He is a child. He has been in custody since he was 17," Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said in granting bail.

The teen must live with his parents, report to police three times a week, and cannot consume drugs or alcohol or leave the house between 8pm and 8am.

His parents have agreed to tell police if their son breaches bail.

He was in March acquitted of Mr Bourke's bashing murder, but a jury could not reach a decision on a manslaughter charge.

A retrial is scheduled for October, but could be further delayed because of the fallout from coronavirus.

The youth's co-accused was found guilty of murder and is awaiting sentence.