An Aussie dad is facing court on charges of killing a meth-addicted home invader that he found in his daughter's bedroom at 3am.

Benjamin Batterham, 35, is on trial at Newcastle Supreme Court accused of killing Ricky Slater-Dickson in 2016 in the Newcastle suburb of Hamilton.

The court heard that Slater-Dickson entered Batterham's home and stole his wife's handbag, which was in his baby daughter's room.

Neither his wife nor the 7-month-old girl were at home at the time.

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When Batterham found him a chase ensued, leading to a violent confrontation 330 metres down the street.

"Revenge"

Crown prosecutor Wayne Creasey SC said that Batterham had the right to pursue Slater-Dickson, but not to "exact some sort of revenge".

Creasey said that after Batterham had punched the 34-year-old Slater-Dickson, who had a history of drug addiction and heart trouble, he told responding police "Give me two minutes with him. I'll kill the dog."

Benjamin Batterham is facing court this week over the 2016 assault. Photo / News Corp
Benjamin Batterham is facing court this week over the 2016 assault. Photo / News Corp

Slater-Dickson lost consciousness after being held in a chokehold by Batterham and died in hospital the next day.

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Creasey told the court that there was intent and an element of payback to the prolonged assault on Slater-Dickson.

"You may very well think that the accused intended to catch that man and he had a legal right to pursue that man," he told the jury.

"Indeed he had a legal right to restrain him, but that does not give him the right to assault him and exact some form of revenge upon the deceased."

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Defence barrister Winston Terracini SC said Batterham acted within the law, after Slater-Dickson broke into his home.

"At no time do we say there is sufficient evidence for you to convict this young man of murder, because there was no intention to kill him or inflict serious bodily harm," Terracini said.

"He was not doing anything unlawful or dangerous."

Cause of death

The court heard the Slater-Dickson battled a number of health conditions including liver disease and scarring on the heart from long-term heavy use of methamphetamine.

He was also obese, standing 178 centimetres tall and weighing 118kg.

Ricky Slater-Dickson died in hospital the day after the assault. Photo / Supplied
Ricky Slater-Dickson died in hospital the day after the assault. Photo / Supplied

The defence rejected the cause of death as asphyxiation and quoted the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy as saying there were "very little injuries on the deceased man consistent with a violent struggle" and Slater-Dickson had not been beaten or strangled to death.

The prosecution alleges that Batterham went too far as neighbours attempted to pull him off Slater-Dickson, who heard to cry out "I can't breathe, I can't breathe".

Another neighbour claimed she heard a man say "I'm going to crack your head like an Easter egg" during the struggle.

The trial is expected to last between four and six weeks