Police seek statements from 29 witnesses in manslaughter case against midwives

Twenty-nine witnesses are expected to provide statements to police in the criminal case against two midwives charged with the alleged manslaughter by negligence of a Melbourne mother after a home birth in 2012.

Melody Ballanda Bourne, 43, from Mullumbimby in NSW, and Gaye Marion Demanuele, 59, from Preston in Melbourne's north, fronted Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link for the first time on Friday, after being charged over the death of Caroline Lovell, 36, at her Watsonia home on January 23, 2012.

Caroline Lovell, who had two children, worked as a photographer and massage therapist.

The court heard the two accused women's statements to police, used in an earlier coronial inquest into Ms Lovell's death, would need to be amended.

Magistrate Jack Vandersteen was told the statements on file were "not sufficient for criminal proceedings".

There were also a number of witnesses police are yet to make contact with since the charges were laid on August 14.

“A number of those reside interstate your honour," Detective Senior Constable Luke Collyer said.

Ms Bourke and Ms Demanuele both sat silently in remote locations throughout the brief, video-linked hearing.

Gaye Demanuele.

Ms Lovell's mother Jade Markiewicz was also present.

Last week, homicide squad detectives charged the two women eight years after the offending allegedly took place.

For this form of manslaughter, prosecutors must prove the accused owed the victim a duty of care and breached it negligently, both consciously and voluntarily.

Ms Lovell worked as a massage therapist and a photographer for Leader newspapers prior to her death.

In 2016, coroner Peter White found Ms Lovell was left to bleed out in a birthing pool in her home, where she remained for about an hour in a dark room after delivering her baby.

When she got out of the pool, she fell unconscious and later died. Her baby survived.

Mr Vandersteen ordered the pair return to court for a committal mention on November 27.

“Each of you are on bail and your bail condition will be extended on the same conditions," he said.

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