Man fit to plead in murder case

Last updated 12:07 14/03/2014

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An East Auckland man accused of murdering his friend has been found fit to plead by psychiatrists.

Byron James Armstrong, 24, has been in the Mason Clinic - for psychiatric assessment - since his arrest more than a year ago.

There have been lengthy discussions between lawyers about his mental state but today two reports by health professionals made it clear he would be fit to stand trial.

"The reports say he has responded to treatment," Judge David McNaughton said.

On February 15 last year, Armstrong is alleged to have killed his friend, Henry Pan, 24, after police found the victim dead at his Half Moon Bay home, where he lived alone.

It was later confirmed he had been stabbed to death.

Police connected the death with a car crash that occurred just after the homicide, 3.5 kilometres away in Gosford Drive, Pakuranga.

On the night of the incident, it is alleged Armstrong drove from Pan's house in his 1996 Mitsubishi Mirage Sport and crashed into a house and collided with a lamp-post.

He had to be cut from the car by firefighters but his injuries were not life-threatening.

Days later, Armstrong appeared in the Manukau District Court with both his arms wrapped in casts. He was remanded in custody.

He has had interim name suppression since early in the proceedings, but his lawyer today conceded there was "no basis for that to continue".

Armstrong will make his first appearance in the High Court in Auckland next month.

He was remanded in custody until then.

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- Fairfax Media

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