7 July 2023

Amber Haigh murder accused seeking judge-alone trial

| Edwina Mason
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Amber Haigh

Mother-of-one, 19-year-old Amber Haigh, disappeared from her Kingsvale home in 2002. Photo: File.

A couple accused of the murder of a Kingsvale teenage mother intends to have their matter heard by a judge alone.

Robert Samuel Geeves’s plan to seek a non-jury trial was revealed during an arraignment hearing in the NSW Supreme Court today (Friday, 7 July).

It is likely his estranged wife, Anne Margaret Geeves, will also seek a judge-alone trial, the court heard.

Most criminal trials in the NSW District or Supreme Courts involve a jury; however, some circumstances allow for a trial to be conducted before a judge alone, who decides whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.

Arrested at their Harden home on 4 May, 2022, the couple face one count each of the alleged murder of teenager Amber Haigh.

Police allege the couple murdered Ms Haigh, a 19-year-old mother-of-one when she was living with them in their home in Kingsvale, a small farming settlement between the NSW South West Slopes towns of Harden and Young.

Ms Haigh has not been seen since 2002, despite extensive investigations by police over the years – including numerous public appeals and a $100,000 reward for information.

READ ALSO Amber Haigh murder co-accused refused bail

A 2011 coronial inquest found Ms Haigh to be dead, having died as a result of homicide or other misadventure in early June 2002.

In 2020, a formal review of the case was conducted under the Homicide Squad’s Unsolved Homicide framework and a reinvestigation was begun by detectives attached to Strike Force Villamar II.

The May 2022 arrests came after a new witness came forward via Crime Stoppers, just eight days after a $1 million reward for information on the case was announced in April 2022.

Today, Mr Geeves, who has been detained in Goulburn Correctional Centre, appeared before Justice Helen Wilson via an audiovisual link.

He was represented by Legal Aid NSW solicitor Joanne Harris.

Mr Geeves had faced a further charge of “aggravated sexual assault – victim with serious intellectual disability” but that charge has been withdrawn.

He has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of murder.

Anne Geeves appeared from Silverwater Prison and was represented by solicitor Clive Hill, also via an audiovisual link.

READ ALSO South Coast killer Kim Snibson could walk free in five years

She has also entered a plea of not guilty.

A Crown prosecutor confirmed the state is opposing the judge-alone application, submissions for which will be heard in the Supreme Court on 7 August, when a trial date will be set, with Goulburn District Court the likely hearing location.

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