Murder plea delay for mental health report

Last updated 09:39 22/11/2013

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Entering of a plea on a charge of murder has been deferred for a man who is continuing to undergo psychiatric evaluation in Hillmorton Hospital.

The 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of another man at a house in Redwood early on November 4.

A 54-year-old man was fatally injured at a Momorangi Cres home and police were called at 2am. The accused was found at the scene and police said they were not seeking anyone else.

The man was originally remanded in custody at Hillmorton Hospital for an appearance in the High Court at Christchurch today, but remained at the hospital while the court session took place.

Crown prosecutor Chris Lange asked for a two-week remand under the Criminal Procedures (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act which will allow the psychiatric evaluation to begin.

He said the Crown would then have the case adjourned administratively for another month so that the process could be completed.

The man's name is suppressed at present and Lange said there were benefits in that suppression continuing while the report was completed.

Defence counsel Jonathan Eaton said the man was not yet well enough for him to sensibly take legal instructions.

The man's case will be next called in the High Court on February 7.

Justice Panckhurst granted the remand, and said the entering of a plea would be deferred until the psychiatric report was available.

He continued the suppression order "given that the mental health assessment is directly relevant to the issue".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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