More than 80 witnesses will give evidence at the trial of a Dunedin doctor accused of murdering a teenage girl.

Venod Skantha, 32, has pleaded not guilty to murder – in relation to the death of 16-year-old Amber-Rose Rush.

Rush was found dead in her Dunedin home in February last year.

Skantha's also facing four charges of threatening to kill.


The trial, which begins today, is expected to take six full weeks – with jury selection starting today. The court has been told more than 80 witnesses will provide evidence.

More than a hundred potential jurors are crammed into the High Court room in Dunedin – with many spilling out into the hallway outside.

It's almost five times the amount usually called to fill just 12 seats.

It's understood the length of the trial – and the large number of witnesses being called – is behind the high number of potential jurors.

In the past 21 months the case has repeatedly been brought before the court as the defendant has made several attempts to get bail.

The High Court and Court of Appeal both turned him down.

There was also a bid by defence counsel Jonathan Eaton, QC, to have the case heard out of Dunedin, which was also declined.

Venod Skantha
Venod Skantha

The prosecution will be represented by Crown solicitor Robin Bates and Richard Smith.


Justice Gerald Nation will preside over the trial.