Trial date set for accused Ballina nursing home murderer

A NURSE accused of murdering two patients at a Ballina nursing home will face a trial lasting six to eight weeks in Lismore.

Megan Jean Haines, 47, appeared in Sydney Supreme Court via video-link from Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre.

She is charged with killing Isobella Spencer, 77, and Marie Darragh, 82, by injecting them with fatal doses of insulin at the St Andrew's Village nursing home in Ballina.

Both women had advanced care directives against resuscitation and died in Ballina District Hospital after being found unconscious in their beds on May 10, 2014.

Ms Haines was arrested almost a month later in Seaspray, Victoria, and extradited to New South Wales.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Peter Johnson heard there would be "a lot of nurses and people called in relation to the management of the hospital" for the defence when the case finally went to trial.

Ms Haines's scheduled arraignment was postponed until May 6, before a trial beginning on October 10 in Lismore.

"A six to eight week trial is a reasonably lengthy one for a country centre," Justice Johnson noted.

Ms Haines was not the only former nurse facing charges yesterday of killing elderly patients by way of insulin overdoses.

Justice Johnson noted Ms Haines's was "the other insulin matter" when it came before the court.

In a separate case just minutes earlier, Garry Steven Davis's face was projected into the courtroom via video-link.

The former aged care nurse pleaded not guilty to killing Gwendolyn Fowler and Ryan Kelly, both in their 80s, and attempting to murder 91-year-old Audrey Manuel.

Police allege Mr Davis poisoned the three elderly residents with insulin overdoses at the SummitCare nursing home in Newcastle in 2013.

Prosecutors claim a string of text messages proved he "predicted" the deaths before they happened.

Mr Davis will face a six-week trial in Newcastle on two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder on August 29.

Ms Haines was not at all linked to the Davis case. -APN NEWSDESK



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