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Qld man fights Vic cold-case murder charge

AAP logoAAP 5/08/2016 By Jacqueline Le

A man extradited to Victoria is fighting a charge he murdered a low-level cannabis dealer whose charred remains were found in Melbourne eight years ago.

Cairns resident Christopher James Lavery, 30, appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates' Court via video link on Friday charged with the 2008 murder of James Russouw.

The 24-year-old's body was found in his burnt-out car behind Burwood East reserve on March 7 in 2008.

Lavery was charged with Mr Russouw's murder in April this year, a month after Victoria Police used the eighth anniversary of the death to announce a $1 million reward for help solving the crime.

Victorian detectives travelled to Queensland to charge Lavery, who was then extradited to Melbourne.

A 2013 inquest into Mr Russouw's death found he had been at his older brother's house in Box Hill on the night he died.

He had left soon after he received a phone call.

Less than an hour later emergency services were called to reports of a car on fire at a nearby reserve.

Lavery will return to court in February for a four-day contested committal hearing where it will be determined if he should stand trial.

Mr Russouw's parents Lorna and Cecil were present in court during Lavery's committal mention on Friday.

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