Knife attacker found not guilty

By Sandra Conchie

A Tauranga judge has found the man who viciously stabbed a shopkeeper in a frenzied attack in March not guilty of serious assault charges by reason of insanity.

Lee Regustly Aholima, 46, of Katikati, was charged with one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm following the March 16 attack on Ramandeep Singh, who suffered more than 10 stab wounds, including a punctured lung.

A doctor described the injuries to Mr Singh as being the result of a frenzied attack.

Aholima was also charged with aggravated assault on Mr Singh's aunt, Kamalgit Kaur, who was inside the shop at the time of the attack and was punched when she went to her nephew's aid.

Since Aholima's arrest he has been an in-patient at Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre, which is a Waikato District Health Board mental health facility in Hamilton, and his fitness to stand trial was at issue.

Last week in Tauranga District Court Aholima's lawyer Mr Balme told Judge Louis Bidois that his client acknowledged the acts took place, and did not contest the police summary of facts.

However, he said three psychiatric reports were before the court, including the Crown's own report and all three doctors shared the same opinion that Aholima was insane at the time of the attack.

In Tauranga District Court yesterday, Mr Balme and Crown lawyer Rob Ronayne invited Judge Thomas Ingram to find Aholima not guilty of the charges by reason of insanity.

After considering the psychiatric experts' opinions and the Crown and defence agreed position.

Judge Ingram decided Aholima was not guilty of both charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and aggravated assault by reason of insanity. The judge has called for a further medical report to help the court in deciding how the charges should be disposed of.

Meanwhile, Aholima remains in the care of the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre.

Last month the Bay of Plenty Times reported that a former doctor at Bay of Plenty District Health Board, who allegedly gave Aholima a markedly different assessment to that of another medical colleague a month before the attack, has resigned

The doctor is under investigation by the Medical Council regarding allegations she engaged in a sexual relationship with Aholima, who is her former patient.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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