Woman not guilty in stabbing spree due to insanity can keep identity a secret

By Jimmy Ellingham

Last week, in the High Court at Wellington, the woman was found not guilty because of insanity. File photo
Last week, in the High Court at Wellington, the woman was found not guilty because of insanity. File photo

A Wellington woman found not guilty of a stabbing spree in the capital city because of insanity will keep her identity secret, as will her victims.

A man in his 60s died and four others were wounded in an attack at a Johnsonville house in June last year.

Last week, in the High Court at Wellington, the woman was found not guilty because of insanity on one charge or murder, one of assault and three of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Her lawyer, Mike Antunovic, accepted the woman "was involved and committed the act in relation to each of the five charges".

After a hearing in the same court, Justice Joe Williams today made a permanent name suppression order for the woman. The names of the victims were also suppressed.

Crown prosecutor Grant Burston said naming the victims would cause "undue hardship" to them.

He said the Crown didn't oppose the woman's name staying secret and being able to reintegrate her into the community safely was the most important public-interest consideration.

Last week, forensic psychiatrist Dr Justin Barry-Walsh told the court about the negative effect naming the woman would have on her rehabilitation and treatment.

The woman, who has a long history of mental illness, is a special patient in hospital, with the court ruling she should remain there "until such time as it's determined that that restriction is no longer required".

On the day of the alleged offending, the woman saw her doctor for help. She assaulted him, believing he was evil and trying to poison her.

She was then referred to hospital where she was seen by a crisis team, who she was deeply suspicious of.

They tried to get her to take medication, which she'd been off for months.

- NZ Herald

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