New report ordered for killer
A new psychiatric report has been sought on the eve of the sentencing of a man who has admitted murdering a woman at a Burwood house on July 11.
The sentencing of the 29-year-old Kaiapoi farmhand had been due to go ahead in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday, and may still proceed.
His name remains suppressed at the order of Justice Fogarty who held a preliminary session today after receiving sentencing submissions from Crown prosecutor Anselm Williams and defence counsel Tony Greig.
Justice Fogarty said his view was that the name of the man should be released when he was sentenced.
However, he wanted time to consider new legislation relating to suppression.
Greig argued that the suppression should be continued under the new legislation because it sought to protect the interests of young people - in this case the victim's 4-year-old daughter.
The Crown supported Justice Fogarty's view.
The defence has suggested in its submissions that the mental health of the man - he has been assessed as having a depressive illness - should be taken into account at the sentencing.
This prompted Justice Fogarty to order a further psychiatric report under the Criminal Procedures (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act.
The man pleaded guilty to the charge of murdering the woman, at a District Court hearing on October 10, and was remanded in custody to the High Court for sentencing.
He was an outpatient at Hillmorton Hospital at the time of the murder and was on medication.
While he was in custody after his arrest, he underwent a psychiatric examination which Greig told the court "did not advance matters".
Justice Fogarty has asked that a further report be prepared by one or both of the clinicians who have been treating the man, to give an appreciation of his mental health at the time of the murder.
It would include a description of why he was still on medication and why he was at outpatient.
Justice Fogarty said he was mindful that family members wished to read victim impact reports at the sentencing session tomorrow, and one of them was travelling from Australia.
He asked Williams to contact the police officer in charge of the case, who was in touch with the family, to find out their views on how to proceed.
The options are to put the sentencing off until the new psychiatric report is available, or to go ahead with sentencing tomorrow.
That would mean that the victim impact statements could be read in court and the man would then be sentenced to the mandatory life imprisonment.
However, a date would be set for a further sentencing session at which a minimum non-parole term would be set, when the psychiatric report was completed.
Police initially got all details of the case suppressed and the name suppression continued for the man even after he pleaded guilty.
Justice Fogarty said the police account of what happened, which has not been released, would form part of his sentencing remarks.