Accused's fitness for trial questioned

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 09:48 20/06/2014

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A woman accused of being involved in incidents that included kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and the dumping of a teen's body may not be mentally fit to stand trial, her lawyer says.

Cheyanne McCausland, 23, is charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and two counts of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

Defence lawyer Taryn Bayley applied for a stay of proceedings in the Tauranga District Court yesterday while a psychiatric report on her client was prepared, Sunlive news reported.

Police said McCausland, Thomas McDonald, 30, and Jovaan Graham, 18, were travelling along State Highway 29 in the lower Kaimai Ranges between Tauranga and Waikato in a Nissan Wingroad when it ran out of petrol, stranding the three on the highway.

Graham was fatally hit by a passing Toyota Prado, and when the driver pulled over to see what had happened, he was allegedly assaulted and abducted by McCausland and McDonald, the court heard.

The Toyota driver managed to escape from his vehicle and raised the alarm.

Graham's body was found dumped at the entrance of the hospital in Matamata hours later by security guards.

The Toyota was later located in Papakura, where McCausland and McDonald were arrested.

McCausland's appearance in court yesterday was excused as she was being treated at the Henry Bennett Centre in Hamilton.

Bayley asked for a stay of proceedings hearing until August 4 to discuss McCausland's mental ability to proceed with a trial in September.

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