The man standing trial for the murder of a 69-year-old man found in the stairwell of an Auckland block of flats has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Gabriel Hikari Yad-Elohim appeared for trial today before a jury and Justice Gerard van Bohemen in the High Court at Auckland.

Michael David Mulholland, 69, was found in the stairwell at the Western Springs flats where he lived, on September 26 last year.

Police were called to the flats on Great North Rd at 11pm.

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Detective Inspector Scott Beard said Mulholland had suffered a violent attack.

Yad-Elohim was arrested in central Auckland the following day.

The Japanese man is seeking a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Michael David Mulholland's body was found in a stairwell in a block of flats in Western Springs. Photo / Dean Purcell
Michael David Mulholland's body was found in a stairwell in a block of flats in Western Springs. Photo / Dean Purcell

Justice van Bohemen adjourned the trial after jury selection this morning, stating there were matters that required his attention and that of counsel.

The trial will resume tomorrow morning before a jury of three women and nine men.