A teenager who snatched a sleeping infant from its Rotorua home was suffering from a disease of the mind, a judge has ruled.

The teen was found not guilty by reasons of insanity of abducting the 18-month-old.

When the teen, who has name suppression, appeared before Judge Phillip Cooper in the Rotorua District Court today, two forensic psychiatrists disagreed about the teen's mental state when he grabbed the infant in the early hours of December 12 last year.

Dr Justin Barry-Walsh of the Capital & Coast District Health Board , gave evidence that, on the balance of probabilities, the teen had an active psychotic illness that made him incapable of realising his actions were morally wrong.


He accepted although the teen had been binge drinking before taking the child, he didn't believe this was why he was unable to remember what he had done.

However, while he agreed about the teen's diagnosed mental condition, the Crown's witness, Dr Shailesh Kumar, considered the alcohol and cannabis the teen had smoked was likely to have caused a memory blackout, meaning the insanity plea wasn't available to him.

Both psychiatrists talked of the teen's delusions, included believing his father was a "honey god", seeing cups of blood, dabbling in black magic and believing he could levitate.

The court heard the teen had been thrown out of a party for fighting, and wandered local streets before breaking into a house, where he took the infant from its cot.

The next morning he had told one person the child was his nephew, but said to another he had no idea whose baby it was, and told police he'd found the infant by a rock.

The teen was remanded to Waikato Hospital's Henry Bennett psychiatric centre until he reappears in court on November 24.