A senior court official says it is "uncertain" whether the judge who granted Akshay Chand bail weeks before he killed Christie Marceau had access to an earlier decision from another judge who rejected his bid for release.

The inquest into the death of Christie opened today at the Auckland District Court before Coroner Katharine Greig.

The 18-year-old was stabbed repeatedly by Chand in her North Shore home in November 2011 and died in her mother's arms.

He was on bail and facing charges of kidnapping, threatening and assaulting Christie when he killed her.

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The inquest heard today from Carl Lewen who was the court services manager for the North Shore District Court at the time of Christie's death.

Lewen, a former police detective, explained to the inquest how court files were compiled and what happened to the information once it was submitted.

He then detailed specifically what was held on Chand's file - effectively what exact documents and information were available to Judge McNaughton when the bail decision was made in October 2011.

Chand had been denied bail twice by Judge Barbara Morris - after his first appearance on September 7 and again on September 9.

At the second appearance Judge Morris said:

"I do not consider it prudent or wise to grant bail until at least a full forensic report can be obtained," she said.

In the meantime, she hoped, Chand could "commence on the medication".

That medication was antidepressants.

"I am concerned too, notwithstanding the support of his family which is welcomed and comforting, that it is only a short distance away from the complainant's address," Judge Morris said.

"It may be with a declinature of bail that steps could be put in place for as rapid as possible electronic bail assessment at an address that would be well away from the complainant.

"Given Mr Chand's age of 18, I would ask, despite limited resources, for an electronic assessment to be made urgently.

"I would also order a psychiatric report on Mr Chand."

Lewen said Judge Morris' decision was recorded on the court file and her notes were transcribed and sent to the prison where Chand was being held in the custody of mental health services and police personnel involved in the EM bail considerations.

They should have also been added to his file via the court's central file management system.

However, he could not confirm that had happened before Judge McNaughton heard Chand's next bail application.

"I cannot state with certainty whether Judge Morris' transcribed decision of 9 September 2011 was on the court file prior to the bail decision that was made by Judge McNaughton on 5 October 2011," Lewen told the inquest.

"As Judge Morris' decision was not recorded as finalised on 5 October, I would assume that it was not.

"However, it would have been open to Judge McNaughton to ask for the draft decision, but I cannot comment on whether (he) did so.

"A request of this nature would not be recorded on the court file."

Lewen said there was "no record of a written application for bail (of any type) on the file.

"The transcripts of the hearings show that the question of bail was raised orally before Judge Morris on 7 September, but the application was only made by defence counsel, orally, on 9 September," he explained.

"At the subsequent hearings on (September 23 and 29 and October 5) defence counsel and the Court proceeded on the basis that bail was sought by the defendant and opposed by police.'

He further explained that there were "no express rules" requiring a judge to consider minutes made by another judge who presided over a defendant's earlier appearance.

"However a judge would be likely to peruse them," he said.

When Chand appeared before Judge McNaughton on September 23 Lewen said the forensic report ordered by Judge Morris was on the file, along with a handwritten letter from the accused kidnapper.

Judge McNaughton again declined bail for Chand saying it was "early days" and the youth had only just commenced a course of medical treatment in regards to his mental health.

"I think I would want to be satisfied that he was responding to the treatment and was reasonably stable before I even considered a bail application," he said, according to court transcripts provided to the inquest.

He ordered a further psychiatric report for the next hearing on September 29.

"If that is positive and the defendant is stable, the court could consider a bail application," Judge McNaughton said.

The court file was updated accordingly.

Chand's September 29 hearing was a simple pre-trial callover.

During that hearing Chand's lawyer Mary-Anne Lowe said a new bail application would be advanced.

On October 5 Chand was back in court for his fifth appearance.

By then further documents had been added to his court file, including a new letter from a forensic nurse and letter from Christie.

Lewen said neither document was date stamped by the court "or bear any marking of being received by a case manager".

"However both documents are referred to by Judge McNaughton in the transcribed record of the hearing," he said.

"On that basis I am confident they were on the paper-based court file when the prosecution was called."

The bail hearing was transcribed along with Judge McNaughton's decision to release Chand from custody.

Just 33 days later Chand was back in court, this time charged with the murder of Christie Marceau.


Christie and her killer - their pleading letters to Judge McNaughton

These letters were provided to the Herald by the High Court when Chand was found not guilty of Christie's murder by reason of insanity.

They have both been submitted to the Coroner as evidence for the inquest.

Christie's letter:

I wish to oppose Akshay receiving bail as the events have made me wary of his intentions. I worry for my safety because of this and particularly as my father is currently on a fly-in-fly out job in Australia which reduces the support I can rely on.

Akshay's family, mother and aunty, live close to my home so I feel that he may play on my thoughts as he knows my father is away for a reasonable period but he also knows my routine travelling to Uni and where I work in the city.

I am worried that he may still try to get revenge on me as he is already in trouble and has nothing to lose if he tries again. This causes me to fear for my safety.

I catch the bus to uni or work every week day, travelling from my local stop through Northcote to the city. So I am worried that living close by he would be able to follow me and get on the bus. As it is very public and I feel that I will be very vulnerable.

I also have exams for university coming up and wish to be able to concentrate on my studies and not have it constantly on my mind that he is out and has the possibility of getting me again.


I would like to get on with my life but at present I need to know that I don't have to encounter him as I try to restore my faith in people as this has caused me a lot of distress.

Christie Marceau

Chand's letter:

To Your Honour,

"I'm incredibly sorry for the ordeal I put Christie through. I am only remorseful for my actions. I know she will sooner forgive me than I will forgive myself.

Given the chance I will apologise to her, her parents and anyone else affected. Ironically the last thing she said to me was that she was sorry. It's only after the events of that day she realised how much pain depression caused me and how much I needed her and vice versa.

She was my emotional outlet. There was nothing that I couldn't tell her and vice versa.

She's really adamant and I'm sure she feels she's to blame. She acknowledges that her absence led to escalation and the impending event that occurred. But as modest as she is, truthfully the blame is on my shoulders.

I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the consequences of my wrongdoings.

In my defence what I did was aided by great psychological pressure. The kind of pressure that arises when you're sitting at the dining room table crushing up pills. And in your head you believe that no one cares if you live or die. I was desperate, vulnerable and exploited my own weakness.

I will do everything in my power to get the help I need. I've been put on antidepressants and am willing to receive counselling. I wish I had only asked for help earlier.

Yours sincerely,
Akshay Chand