Alleged killer of Charlise Mutten to stay behind bars on remand

The stepfather of schoolgirl Charlise Mutten will remain behind bars after more than a year in custody on remand.

Justin Stein, who allegedly murdered Charlise and dumped her body in a barrel, was represented by lawyers in Penrith Local Court on Friday after being charged with a raft of offences, including murder, interfering with a corpse, and possession of child abuse material.

The 31-year-old was thrust into the public eye in January last year when he was accused of murdering the nine-year-old daughter of his fiancee and dumping her body in a plastic barrel.

Camera IconJustin Stein has been charged with murdering Charlise and interfering with her dead body. Facebook Credit: Supplied

Police allege Charlise Mutten died of a single gunshot wound while she was visiting her mother and Mr Stein at a property in the NSW Blue Mountains.

There is no suggestion her mother was involved in the schoolgirl’s death.

Police allege Mr Stein murdered Charlise either on the evening of January 11 or in the early hours of January 12 when they were alone together.

He then allegedly travelled from Mt Wilson to Sydney’s northwest and inner west suburbs before returning to the Colo River, near the Hawkesbury, where he disposed of her body.

The disappearance of the Tweed Heads schoolgirl on January 14 sparked a lengthy multi-agency search of the surrounding bushlands that involved hundreds of volunteers.

Charlise Mutten was reported missing on January 14, 2022.
Camera IconCharlise Mutten was reported missing on January 14, 2022. Credit: News Corp Australia
Supplied Editorial New pic confirmed photo of Charlise Mutten. Supplied by a
 schoolfriend to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Camera IconHer body was found four days later. Credit: Supplied

Mr Stein was charged with killing Charlise in January 2022 and has remained behind bars on remand since then.

On Friday, the court was told he would remain in custody after another delay to his legal proceedings.

His lawyer Peter Katsoolis sought “one final adjournment” of six weeks to allow the defence and prosecution to hold another case conference.

“The briefs are of some complexity,” he told the court.

“The defence team is still working through them.”

Mr Stein was arrested in January 2022, only days after Charlise disappeared. NSW Police
Camera IconMr Stein was arrested in January 2022, only days after Charlise disappeared. NSW Police Credit: Supplied

Mr Katsoolis explained there were delays in discussing the brief of evidence with his client, who is being held on remand on the NSW south coast.

While in custody at Silverwater Jail last year, the 31-year-old was charged with possessing two unauthorised firearms and ammunition.

Police allege he stole them from a neighbouring property in August 2021 during an aggravated break in. Police do not believe the rifle and shotgun were used to kill Charlise.

Her would-be stepfather was also charged with possessing 21 videos that portrayed child sexual abuse but are not related to Charlise.

Tributes to Charlise outside Tweed Heads Public School. Facebook
Camera IconTributes to Charlise outside Tweed Heads Public School. Facebook Credit: Supplied

Mr Stein is now facing 10 charges, including murder, improperly interfering with a dead body, possession of authorised firearms and ammunition, aggravated break and enter, and possession of child abuse material.

Magistrate Stephen Corry agreed to grant the adjournment for all charges.

The matter will return to Penrith Local Court in April.

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