Murder accused's psych exam delayed
A psychiatric report has been delayed for the man accused of the murder of caregiver Amy Elizabeth Farrall because of the medication involved in his continuing surgery.
Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger said at his initial appearance at a Christchurch Hospital court sitting yesterday that he had surgery on both legs, and more surgery was likely today.
The 38-year-old Otaki man was allowed to lie in bed throughout the brief Christchurch District Court sitting conducted by Judge Noel Walsh.
The man had both lower legs heavily bandaged after surgery for police dog bite wounds he received when he was apprehended after a standoff with police about 25km south of Fox Glacier about 3am on Monday. He also had an abrasion to his right cheek.
The man was handcuffed to the hospital bed at a sitting attended by only a few people. Present were the judge, registrar, court security officer, police prosecutor, defence counsel, hospital orderlies, and one reporter.
The man is charged with the sexual violation and murder of 24-year-old Farrall at Christchurch on March 28 or 29.
He is also charged with robbing two female tourists, Niki Honda and Michaela Brandl, of their personal belongings on the West Coast on Sunday, while armed with a metal bar. He is charged with wounding Brandl with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on Sunday, and reckless driving on State High 6 on the West Coast, and failing to stop for a police car using its lights and sirens.
Bulger asked for the man to be remanded without plea to the High Court for another appearance on April 16. She asked for interim name suppression "to protect the situation in the meantime".
Police prosecutor Glenn Henderson was seeking a court order for a psychiatric report to be prepared under the Criminal Procedures (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act, but Bulger asked for that to be delayed.
She said the man was still too affected by the medication because of the surgery he had yesterday, to undergo a psychiatric assessment, and she said he was expected to have more surgery today.
She said he would pass from police custody into Corrections Department custody at the hospital today, and would eventually be held on remand at Christchurch Men's Prison.
She asked the judge to delay ordering a psychiatric report until the appearance in the High Court.
Police did not oppose the application for name suppression.
Judge Walsh agreed to both requests, granting interim name suppression which he said could be reargued when the man makes his next court appearance, and leaving the psychiatric report request for the High Court to decide.
He ordered the remand in custody, without plea. There was no application for bail.
A Christchurch Hospital spokesman said the alleged offender and the two hitchhikers were in separate wards and on different floors. The man was also being guarded by two police officers and ward staff were communicating with each other "over what's happening".
The women would have been informed that their alleged attacker was in the same facility, the spokesman said.