Coroner expresses sympathy to Christie's parents as inquest adjourned

7:59 am on 23 June 2017

The inquest into the death of 18-year-old Christie Marceau has adjourned for two weeks, with the coroner thanking the Marceau family for their attendance.

Christie Marceau

Christie Marceau Photo: Facebook / The Christie Marceau Charitable Trust

As well as giving evidence, Christie's parents - Brian and Tracey - have sat through two weeks of testimony from 20 witnesses.

Coroner Katherine Greig expressed her sympathy to the Marceaus for the loss of their daughter, who was killed by Akshay Chand while he was out on bail for kidnapping her at knife-point in November 2011.

Ms Greig said she would endeavour to release her decision as soon as possible.

Mrs Marceau told the coroner they had been waiting for six years and were not going away.

The inquest has adjourned until 7 July when Dr Jeremy Skipworth - the clinical director of the Mason Clinic - is due to give evidence.

'Is that a realistic scenario?'

Yesterday the inquest heard from Chand's lawyer Mary-Anne Lowe, who said she sought bail on his behalf, believing his mother and aunt would monitor his every movement.

But the condition was never included in his bail bond and there was a 2.5 hour window when Chand was left home alone.

Ms Lowe told the inquest she met with Chand's mother and aunt before and after each of the four hearings at the North Shore District Court.

She said she sought assurances from them that they could monitor Chand if he was given bail on a 24-hour curfew.

"I would've asked them: 'Is that a realistic scenario?' Because I don't propose bail conditions unless I am assured they can be met. So I would have been very clear that if that was going to be the proposal, one of them had to be at the property throughout that time."

She said she believed the pair understood their obligations when Chand was eventually granted bail in October 2011.

But under cross-examination from the Chand family lawyer, Alex Witten-Hannah, Ms Lowe confirmed there was no mention of a monitoring condition on the bail bond.

Mr Witten-Hannah: "Did you explain to them, anything to the effect, that they might have to ... one of them stay awake all night, for example, so that Akshay wouldn't sneak out of the house?"

Ms Lowe: "No I didn't discuss that."

Mr Witten-Hannah: "Because unless someone was awake at 2 o'clock in the morning, watching him, there would be nothing to prevent him leaving, would there?"

Ms Lowe: "No."

Mr Witten-Hannah: "And in fact, on the morning of 7 November, he snuck out of the house at 7am when his sister was asleep."

Ms Lowe: "I understand so, yes."

Ms Lowe also confirmed she did not write to the pair, advising them of their responsibilities.

'I was not aware of that gap'

The Marceaus' lawyer Nikki Pender asked Ms Lowe if the offer of monitoring made bail more palatable to the judge.

"This was a young person, he was only 18, he hadn't been in trouble with the police before and he was obviously suffering from a mental illness. In all of those circumstances, it seemed appropriate," said Ms Lowe.

She was also asked about a two and-a-half hour gap in the monitoring between Mrs Chand leaving for work and his aunt getting her son off to school.

Ms Lowe: "I was not aware of that gap."

Ms Pender: "So if you had been aware of that, you would not be in a position to submit to the court, as you did, that Mr Chand would never be alone?"

Ms Lowe: "Correct."

She was also questioned about a letter written to the court by Ms Marceau, opposing Chand's bail because she had concerns for her safety.

"I didn't even show it to him or his family because, in my view, it contained information about Miss Marceau's comings and goings that I didn't want to be responsible for having Mr Chand or his family aware of so I distinctly and deliberately did not show them or give them copies of that document," Ms Lowe said.

At the final bail hearing, no mention was made that Chand's mother's home was just a kilometre from the Marceau's.

Ms Lowe was asked by Hanne Janes, the lawyer assisting the Coroner, if there was an ethical obligation stopping her for continuing to apply for bail at an address that an earlier Judge raised concerns about.

"My obligation was to apply for bail to the family home and to follow the instructions of my client. The police were aware of the issues with the bail address."

She said a police prosecutor was in court at the time and had the opportunity to raise their concerns. She said she assumed the notes of the judge had been transcribed and were on the court record.

The inquest has heard evidence that this was not the case.

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