Mental illness defence open to teen charged with murdering 10-year-old cousin, court told

A teen charged with murdering her 10-year-old cousin will doubtless argue at trial she will not be responsible by cause of psychological illness, a court has been told.

Her lawyer flagged the potential defence on the lady’s first look earlier than the NSW Supreme Court on Friday as Justice Robert Hulme stated the delay within the case getting to trial was “extremely undesirable”.

The lady, who can’t be recognized, was 14 when she was charged with homicide in July 2020 over the demise of her youthful cousin at a property in Gunnedah, NSW.

She has pleaded not responsible.

The teenager was arrested on a neighbouring property after her mom arrived on the farmhouse and located the 10-year-old.

Her lawyer Stuart Bouveng told the court the “actus reus” — which means the bodily acts relating to the alleged homicide — was not in dispute.

“The real issue here is either, I’m still using the old terms, NGMI (not guilty by reason of mental illness) and/or substantial impairment,” he stated.

Gunnedah Murder
Camera IconPolice and SES searched the agricultural property within the wake of the alleged homicide. Nathan Edwards Credit: News Corp Australia

Experts on each side of the case had concluded the defences had been out there to {the teenager}, Mr Bouveng stated.

The lady watched the proceedings over audiovisual hyperlink from a juvenile justice facility, the place she sat at a desk sporting a white buttoned shirt.

She solely spoke to reply “yes” when Justice Robert Hulme requested if she may hear the proceedings.

Mr Bouveng is in search of a judge-alone trial for {the teenager} and stated he believed it may very well be achieved in two or three days if the request was granted.

Prosecutor David Scully stated the crown wanted extra time to reply to the judge-alone software and in addition to talk about the problems at trial and witnesses required with the defence.

Justice Hulme stated the matter “cries out for expedition”, noting the lady was arrested in July 2020.

“That’s 14 months for the case to arrive in this court, which in the case of a juvenile is extremely undesirable to say the least,” he stated.

The trial would often be held in Tamworth due to the situation of the alleged homicide, however Mr Scully stated there was no want for it to be held there if an earlier trial date was potential elsewhere.

No witnesses from that space, aside from doubtlessly a police officer, had been anticipated to testify, the court was told.

The matter returns to court on September 10.

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