Key Points:

A High Court jury in Auckland has retired to consider whether samurai sword attacker Antonie Dixon is guilty of murder and seven other charges.

The 11-person jury retired about 2.55pm after a lengthy summing up from Justice Hugh Williams in which he discussed issues of self-defence, provocation and insanity.

Dixon, 40, is on trial on charges including murdering James Te Aute, who was shot dead in Auckland in January 2003, and causing Renee Gunbie and Simonne Butler grievous bodily harm with a samurai sword at Pipiroa, near Thames, earlier that night.

He was found guilty of the charges in 2005 but the Court of Appeal later ordered a second trial, suppressing its reasons for quashing his convictions.

Justice Williams said the trial had a large number of issues and major complexities and produced a 47-page handout to help the six men and five women on the jury to understand the issues they had to decide on.

He went through the elements of each charge which the Crown needed to prove, and the elements of self-defence and provocation which Dixon is asserting on the murder count.

Justice Williams also discussed the issue of insanity at length, which can be used as a defence if the jury decides the Crown had proved the eight charges.

He noted that unlike most aspects of the trial, the burden of proof for insanity lay with the defence. He said Dixon had to prove on the balance of probabilities not only that he had a disease of the mind, but that the disease rendered him incapable of knowing his actions were morally wrong.

The Crown said Dixon was not insane but suffering from a severe personality disorder. Dixon's lawyers said he killed Mr Te Aute in self-defence and was provoked, but that he was insane on the balance of probabilities.

- NZPA