Not guilty: Royal Commission witness charged with manslaughter walks free

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A 61-year-old Canberra man has been found not guilty in the death of an 89-year-old woman whom he was accused of pushing through a laundry door in 2018.

Mario Amato, who had previously appeared before the Royal Commission as a witness at the hearing on younger people in aged care, walked free from the ACT Supreme Court after Justice Michael Elkaim found him not guilty of manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm.

The woman, Sheila Marie Capper, died in late 2018 after suffering a broken hip in the incident and naming Mr Amato as her attacker; however, Justice Elkaim determined that her dementia made her an unreliable witness, and that the infection which claimed her life could not be conclusively determined to have resulted from the break.

In a statement, Ms Capper’s family expressed their disappointment in the verdict.

“Regardless of the decision in this matter… we thank the DPP and the AFP Case Officer Dan Vickers, in particular, for trying their best to see that justice was done for Mum.

“We hope that nothing like this ever happens to anyone else who is in the care of an aged care provider,” they said.

Mr Amato was a resident of Ms Capper’s aged care home, where he had lived since suffering a stroke-induced injury to his frontal lobe.