The family of a fly-in, fly-out worker who was killed by a colleague on a Pilbara mine site say they were “blindsided” and “betrayed” by a decision by prosecutors to discontinue a murder charge, slamming the move as “disgusting” and a “disgrace”. Troy Adam Hausler, 32, was charged with murdering Tobias Richter at Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora mine, about 120km east of Port Hedland, in November 2019. Hausler, a site supervisor, wrapped the 40-year-old’s body in cargo netting before he was stopped by workers near the entrance to a crusher conveyor. He was due to stand trial in the Supreme Court on Monday but it was revealed the prosecution had accepted a plea to manslaughter because it had been found there were “no reasonable prospects” for a conviction on the murder charge. Prosecutor Les Hobson said there had been no injuries observed on Mr Richter and there “wasn’t sufficient evidence” to argue an intent to kill. Justice Joseph McGrath had asked for detailed written submissions ahead of sentencing, saying he wanted to know what would be said about “the nexus, if any” between Hausler’s mental health at the time and the offending. Haulser’s lawyer Rebekah Sleeth said it would be submitted he had a mental state at the time that was “just shy of what (could) have been a complete defence” of insanity. The court was told a psychiatrist found Hausler was “under an illusion” about the “victim’s actions” and that he was having his “first psychotic episode at the time”. Ms Sleeth said she would also rely on evidence that found Hausler’s actions were not the “direct cause” of Mr Richter’s death but a substantial one. Mr Richter’s family say the post-mortem was inconclusive and the fact Mr Richter had an “aged heart” was being used as an argument that he could have died “at any time”. Outside court, Mr Richter’s sister Vanessa Richter said she believed the easy way out was taken and the family were not consulted about the decision to accept a plea. “Toby has lost 60 years of his life and this person is very likely to be out in a very short time,” she said. “So our next fight will be for justice and higher sentencing. The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life and that is the very least we expect him to get. “Anything less than that is not going to be acceptable. “The courts, everyone, should just hang their head in shame that this can even happen.” Ms Richter said that in her view the crime that took her brother’s life was “black and white”. “You don’t go into an area where someone else is working when they are not supposed to be there, with a ute and cargo net at the ready, do whatever he did, which is kill my brother, and then wrap him in a cargo net and ask your workmates to help dispose of his body in the tip,” she said. “So to say now that my brother didn’t have enough damage to show intent is just disgraceful.” Ms Richter said the family had “no idea” the murder charge would be discontinued until earlier this month. “We got told on the 7th of February that they changed their mind and decided to accept this plea offer, that was after in October being told they were rejecting it, and we were right to go ahead with the murder trial,” she said. “So we were totally blindsided. We are devastated. My family is broken, absolutely broken and this is just the icing on the cake.” A spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said Mr Richter’s family was engaged in consultation with prosecutors in October and were aware of the family’s views. “However, following a case review in early 2022, it became apparent that there were no reasonable prospects of conviction on the charge of murder and that the prosecution would only be able to prove manslaughter, even if it could overcome the defence of insanity. As such, it would have been inappropriate to proceed on the charge of murder,” the spokeswoman said. “Due to a regrettable misunderstanding, however, the family was not further consulted prior to the acceptance of the plea offer in this case. While in this case the family’s views could not overcome the absence of sufficient evidence, they were entitled to be heard prior to the decision being made.” The spokeswoman said the DPP appreciated the “frustration and anger” of the family caused by the “regrettable oversight”. “Upon the family’s request for a review of the decision, the DPP personally met with the family, during which she apologised to Mr Richter’s family and took responsibility for the lack of proper communication,” she said. “However, as explained in the course of that meeting and a prior conversation, the decision was made after a critical evaluation of the evidence, and having regard to the prospects of conviction. “The DPP again expresses her condolences to the Richter family. However, the decision was the only appropriate one in the circumstances, and was made in the interests of justice.” Ms Richter described her brother as a “good guy”. “He loved his two boys — they are now without a father,” she said. “He wasn’t a fighter, he wasn’t confrontational. He was a hard worker, a really, really hard worker. “He would have just had no idea what happened, he would have been blindsided by this guy as well. “He was down there hosing with a high-pressure hose with earplugs in with full safety gear on and I just hope that he didn’t have any fear when it all happened.” Asked if she had a message for Attorney-General John Quigley, Ms Richter said: “Fix this problem. Your State is a mess, your judicial system is a mess.” “Imagine if this was your son or daughter or wife or partner or mother or father. I guarantee this sentence would not be appropriate for you if this was your family.” Mr Richter’s mother Roswitha said the family had been left “broken” by her son’s death and the court process. “Our hearts broke when we go the message he died,” she said. “Then when we got the message how he died, our heart broke again. Our hearts are in a thousand pieces. “We are devastated. We are a broken family.” Mr Richter’s father Goesta said the decision was as “disgrace”. “We were blindsided from the whole system,” he said. “He will never get a fair sentence, what he deserves. “He doesn’t deserve this.” The family have launched a petition to Mr Quigley and Premier Mark McGowan in an effort to get a tough sentence for Hausler and other manslaughter cases. “We are going to try and fight to get the highest sentence,” Vanessa Richter said. “We need the courts to know that this is not acceptable. “It’s probably too late for my brother but for the next family that has to go through this I’m hoping that we can do something for them because we have been absolutely betrayed by the State.” Toni Dodd, the sister of Hayley Dodd who was abducted and killed by Francis John Wark in 1999, and is the mother of Mr Richter’s children, was in court and was also upset by the revelation. “We’ve been through this before and not got the result we wanted – Hayley was murder and then manslaughter, same thing,” she said. “All you can hope for is that he gets a good sentence but from listening to that, I don’t think he will.” Wark was handed the harshest sentence for manslaughter in WA legal history — 18 years — after a jury cleared him of murder but convicted him of the lesser charge. Last month, Director of Public Prosecutions Amanda Forrester SC argued in an appeal hearing that sentences being imposed for manslaughter cases were “too low and should be firmed up” and were not properly reflecting Parliament’s intention in increasing the maximum penalty to life imprisonment more than a decade ago. Hausler will be formally arraigned on March 11 before he is sentenced.