16 Jun 2017

Christie Marceau inquest: Killer was 'extraordinarily deceptive'

9:21 am on 16 June 2017

A top psychiatrist who assessed Akshay Chand before he was released on bail and killed Christie Marceau has told an inquest that Chand is extraordinarily deceptive.

Outside the Auckland District Court on Albert Street.

The inquest into 18-year-old Christie Marceau's death is being held in the Auckland District Court. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Forensic psychiatrist Ian Goodwin has been giving evidence at the inquest into the death of Miss Marceau.

Dr Goodwin's report was on the court file when Chand was granted bail in the North Shore District Court in October 2011.

A month later Chand made the two-minute walk to the Marceau family home and stabbed Miss Marceau to death.

Dr Goodwin spent an hour and 16 minutes interviewing Chand inside Mt Eden Prison after Chand was arrested for kidnapping Miss Marceau at knifepoint.

He told the inquest in the Auckland District Court that he found Chand understood the charges he faced and was articulate in giving his side of the story.

"Mr Chand was extremely remorseful and able to give specific assurances to me about the safety of Miss Marceau. Based on his previous lack of violent offending or apparent dishonesty, combined with the consistent collateral history available, there was no reason to disbelieve his assurances at that time."

Under cross-examination from the Marceau family's lawyer, Nikki Pender, Dr Goodwin said his report was never intended to be used by a judge to assess Chand's mental fitness for bail and he would be concerned if it was.

Ms Pender asked him what he would have considered had he been assessing Chand for bail.

"Yeah, I've given this quite a bit of thought. What I would have done really, would've looked a lot more at issues of things like access to Christie, at the time. Also, whether he had access to weapons, whether he had access to other means of potentially causing her harm."

Ms Pender later read out part of a transcript of a DVD police interview with Chand, made after he had killed Miss Marceau.

Chand: "I wrote a really phoney apology letter to the judge, it took me around two minutes to write, it got me bail."

Detective: "What did the letter say?"

Chand: "It was really sappy. It was about how I was really remorseful for what I did earlier."

Detective: "OK, and you're saying it wasn't true?"

Chand: "Nah, not at all ... I mean I'm living proof that the justice system in New Zealand works."

Detective: "OK, so what was your main reason to deceive?"

Chand: "To kill her once I got out."

Ms Pender asked Dr Goodwin if he was still confident in his determination that Chand was remorseful.

Dr Goodwin responded: "What you've just read out is a perfect example of, in my mind, a psychopath, who is almost boastful about his actions. He's extremely callous about what he's done. He's clearly lied, quite glibly, to get out and he shows no remorse."

Ms Pender then asked: "To the extent that you were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, would you now accept that decision was wrong?"

Dr Goodwin replied: "I am of the opinion that Mr Chand has deliberately deceived a number of people in this process, I think he's deceived a number of psychiatrists and other assessors through the entire process, following the murder."

Dr Goodwin said guarding against that was very difficult, given Chand was young and had no previous criminal history.

"I found, when I read these, I just thought he was quite coherent and clearly non-psychotic when he was talking about [this murder]. He displays planning and he displays, I think, almost a sense of pride in what he'd done and you can't predict that sort of stuff, unless people have a history of similar behaviour - it's almost impossible."

Dr Goodwin said Chand was deceptive and people had to be very careful about what he told them.

The inquest is set down to finish at the end of next week.

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