Marceau family vows to keep fighting
The family of slain teenager Christie Marceau say they plan to continue with their crusade to hold judges accountable and tighten bail laws in the wake of her killer's "insufficient" sentence.
Akshay Anand Chand, 19, was handed down a three-year term for Christie's kidnapping and assault at the High Court at Auckland yesterday.
The previous day, he was found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital indefinitely.
Justice Helen Winkelmann said the jail time would be served concurrently while Chand was in the facility.
Christie, 18, was stabbed to death by Chand at her Hillcrest home on November 7, 2011. He committed the crime while on bail for her kidnap and assault.
During the initial attack he held Marceau at knifepoint and made her undress, terrifying her, before letting her escape and trying to take his own life.
Psychiatrists later found that Chand was suffering from a psychotic disorder, most likely schizophrenia. He heard voices and believed Christie was "the devil".
However, while he was deemed insane at the time of the murder, he still had some control at the time of the earlier assault, hence the difference in sentencing.
Christie's family rejected the insanity verdict, with her father Brian Marceau reading a statement to media outside the court, saying he could not understand how someone could be "both guilty and not guilty".
"For us no sentence will ever be sufficient for the loss of Christie. It will never bring her back or even make us feel that justice has actually been done," Mr Marceau said.
"We do not agree with the term "not guilty by reason of insanity" for us he will always be Christie's murderer and in our eyes he will always be guilty."
Christie's mother, Tracey Marceau, said she would continue to fight for harsher bail laws and judge's accountability in the name of her daughter.
"That is very strong on our agenda. We feel that Christie should have still been here, she should have been alive and I think that after all that's come out in the courts, in the last couple of days, there's a strong indication that she was taken away from us unjustly," Mrs Marceau said.
"She had that right to live. Everything has been about the offenders' rights, but she had rights."
Chand's lawyer did not make a public statement yesterday, nor did his family.
In court, his counsel Mary-Anne Lowe asked the judge to consider Chand's age and mental health in sentencing him.
Lowe said he was suffering from ''pervasive and severe'' undiagnosed schizophrenia and lacked insight into his offending.
She also said it could not be ruled out that he was remorseful, despite evidence given that an apology letter written to the court was designed specifically to fool authorities into letting him out of jail.
Justice Winkelmann found that Christie's life had been "fundamentally changed" after the kidnapping.
She and her family were frightened and stressed, with Mrs Marceau now sometimes "crippled" by fear.
She acknowledged Chand had been suffering a mental illness but was coherent enough not to go through with the rape, showing some moral judgement.
However, she was not satisfied he was genuinely remorseful.
Chand will now become a "special patient" and will not be allowed free until the Minister of Health approves his release.
- © Fairfax NZ News