Nearly a year to the day after local DJ Chris Bradley was killed at a Byron Bay Christmas party, Javen O’Neill has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the crime.
O’Neill entered the guilty plea during a brief hearing at Tweed Heads local court on December 19.
Despite originally charging the 25-year-old with murder over Mr Bradley’s death, prosecutors accepted his plea and withdrew the more serious charge.
The dual UK–Australian citizen’s case will now go directly to sentencing, which will commence on February 11 at Lismore District Court.
The guilty plea follows a bail hearing in the Supreme Court earlier this year in which O’Neill’s lawyer, Adam Williams, said ‘significant’ new expert evidence cast doubt over his client’s role in the crime.
The Supreme Court heard that a forensic expert had found there were a number of possible causes of Mr Bradley’s death, including not only blunt force trauma but also drug ingestion and natural causes.
The expert also reportedly found that any punches allegedly thrown by Mr O’Neill may have been of ‘no more than moderate severity’.
The court had previously heard that O’Neill had trained in Muy Thai boxing.
Whether any of this evidence played a role in the Crown’s decision to accept O’Neill’s plea to manslaughter is likely to emerge during the sentencing process.
Mr Bradley, also known as ‘DJ DAD BOD’, died at a house party in Byron Bay on Christmas night 2017.
He was a well-known member of the local dance party community, making regular appearances on Bay FM, and was the part-owner of the Byron-based artist management company Atypical Entertainment.
NB: As this matter is still before the courts, we are unable to publish comments regarding to the accused’s culpability or otherwise, the nature of the plea bargain or any potential sentence.