13 Dec 2016

Woman accused of stabbing sister faces deposition hearing

8:53 am on 13 December 2016

A woman accused of stabbing her sister and burning her body made admissions to two separate police officers, a court has heard.

New Zealand Coat of Arms

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The woman, who has name suppression, is facing a depositions hearing at the Auckland District Court, eight years after the grisly discovery of her sister.

The hearing involves four witnesses from the Crown giving evidence before Judge Lisa Tremewan. After hearing from the witnesses, the judge will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a trial.

That is a much lower standard then "beyond reasonable doubt" - the test the jury will be told to apply, should it go to trial.

There are wide-ranging suppression orders, meaning RNZ can't report why it has taken eight years for the case to come to court.

The court on Monday heard from three police officers. Constable Sharon Hearn was one of the first officers at the scene in the West Auckland suburb of Massey.

She said the defendant was in a bedroom when she arrived.

Ms Hearn said the woman approached her and told her that she had a fight with her sister who cut her on the thumb and threatened to kill her.

She said the woman then told her she had killed her sister and put her body in the boot of a car, parked in the garage.

Another officer, Sergeant Khush Kullar, told the court that he escorted the accused woman back to the Henderson police station.

He said when he asked her what happened, she repeated that she had had a fight with her sister and that her sister had threatened to kill her but had not gone through with the plan because her daughter began crying.

He said the accused then told him that she had given her sister codeine tablets before using a knife to kill her and putting her body on a fire.

She declined to talk further after getting legal advice and refused to sign his notebook to say his notes of the conversation were correct.

Former Constable, Judith Zwezerynen, was another officer who visited the house. She said she found a set of keys on a chair and unlocked the boot of the car parked in the garage.

Inside she saw a duvet or quilt before noticing a human foot. She also saw a torso and described it as discoloured.

The last witness is due to give evidence today.