Deaths spark review of bail process
Community magistrates will have their training reviewed after a man who threatened to kill his partner was released on bail, only to fatally stab the woman before killing himself.
Ramnitesh Avinash stabbed Inayat Kawthar repeatedly in the chest at her flat in Great South Rd, Manurewa, on Friday before fleeing the scene. He was found dead a short time later.
Kawthar was rushed to Middlemore Hospital with critical injuries and died hours later.
Sonja de Friez, director of community engagement at the District Courts, confirmed today that Avinash was granted bail by a community magistrate on the strict condition of non-association with the complainant. He was not allowed to text his partner, to call her or go within a hundred metres of her house.
"The next day he appeared before a judge, to resolve the issue of his residential address. Police did not oppose bail on that occasion, where bail was continued on the same conditions to a date in November, where he was bailed to an address approved by police."
De Friez said that when "tragic events such as these take place it is vital to assess the processes that surround them".
She said Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue was reviewing the ongoing training of community magistrates, and their continuing legal education. This "professional development" will include further instruction on issues relating to bail decisions.
"The Chief Judge has this morning written to all District Court judges and community magistrates reminding them of the obligations inherent in the processes surrounding bail decisions."
The deaths of the South Auckland couple are being treated as a murder and suicide, police say, and have been referred to the coroner.
In a statement the Kawthar family said it was a difficult time for them as they went through a "private and holy" grieving process.
"We are asking that the media respect this process and our privacy at this difficult time," the family said.
They said when the time was right they may speak about the incident.
Meanwhile, the Sensible Sentencing Trust said Friday's murder-suicide showed the need to toughen bail laws.
Spokesman Garth McVicar said no-one accused of a violent offence should be granted bail.
"Anything less will mean this violence will continue and innocent people will keep being murdered - sadly the victims are normally young woman killed by jealous, out of control young males."
McVicar said the only good thing to come out of the incident was that "the offender had taken his own life saving the tax-payers the cost of a trial".