A judge has been urged to acquit a man of manslaughter because his defence says there is no link between any assault and the death of the accused's partner.
Greg Trimmings is accused of inflicting head injuries on Ingrid Driver, who later died in Albury hospital.
But defence barrister Eric Wilson SC said Ms Driver's death from a subdural hematoma was most likely linked to the alleged victim's liver cirrhosis.
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He said evidence showed Ms Driver's medical issues were so dire she stood a 55 per cent chance of dying within the following 12 months.
"The health of the deceased had been in a greatly compromised state and for a long time," he said on Wednesday, in his opening address to the judge-only trial of Trimmings before the District Court in Albury.
Ms Driver, a chronic alcoholic, died following an alleged assault by Trimmings, now 45, in their Olive Street unit on April 30, 2018.
Both the Crown and the defence, appearing before Judge Sean Grant, agreed the evidence of forensic pathologist Dr Jane Vuletic would likely determine whether Trimmings was guilty of manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dr Vuletic told a special witness hearing in Albury Local Court in mid-2019 there was a credible link between Ms Driver's liver cirrhosis and the hematoma that killed the 46-year-old.
Prosecutor Max Pincott said this "forms a very important part of the evidence in this trial".
The Crown's submissions, he said, made out a case for manslaughter.
Trimmings, who has returned to live in South Australia, was excused from attending on Wednesday.
Mr Wilson, in support of his own detailed submissions, said the Crown could not point to a particular act of the accused "that amounts to an unlawful assault on the victim".
He said the medical evidence suggested that Ms Driver's health was already in "such a desperate position" at the time, with significant blood-clotting issues linked to her cirrhosis.
The hearing heard Trimmings told a witness that Ms Driver, reacting in grief to the death of an elder, banged her head on a wall "and hit herself over the head with a water bottle".
"There's an inference from the medical evidence," Mr Wilson said, "that this (internal) bleeding may have gone on for a couple of days."
The trial was adjourned to March 5 for Judge Grant to hand down his decision.