Teenager refused bail on murder charge
A 16-year-old boy charged with the murder of an Ashburton mother has been refused bail at a Youth Court sitting in Ashburton.
The teenager is charged with murdering 22-year-old Sina Nerisa Solomona, who was found lying in a pool of blood at a home Cass St house on December 15.
She had a 3-year-old daughter.
The teenager's name remains suppressed under Youth Court media coverage rules, and Judge Robert Murfitt imposed some extra suppressions.
He considered bail at the afternoon sitting, which was attended by family, police and the media.
Many family members and associates gathered quietly outside the Baring Square courthouse.
The teen appeared in the Christchurch Youth Court last month and was remanded in custody to today, when defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger applied for his release on bail.
She told Judge Murfitt that conditions could be imposed, including surrendering his passport and not applying for travel documents, to allow his release.
Prosecutor Andrew McRae said the Crown opposed the teenager's release on bail and asked for him to be remanded in custody.
He confirmed that a proposed witness lived at the address where the accused would reside while on bail.
McRae said the investigation was still under way, with forensic examinations and witness statements being taken, and he sought an extension of three or four weeks for the filing of police evidence.
He sought extra time because of the extensive investigation and forensic analysis that was still being done.
"The analysis of those exhibits is going to be important," he said.
Judge Murfitt said that there was "powerful public interest" in cases of this type in ensuring that the evidence was properly prepared and presented.
But he said the trial could still be scheduled and would not be delayed even if the extra time was granted, and he allowed the extension to February 25.
He noted that the proposed bail address was only two kilometres from the scene of the alleged murder, and relatives of Solomona lived within the district.
He said there was justification in the accused being held in custody in the meantime in spite of the "legislative bias" in favour of granting bail to young people.
The teenager was remanded in custody to March 4 to appear again in Ashburton.
The defence and the Crown sought suppression of some aspects of the discussion in court, and Judge Murfitt made that order.
A relative in the public seating told the youth to "stay strong" as he was taken back to the cells.