A man stabbed his mother with a kitchen knife last year
because he believed he was being controlled by a supernatural
spiritual entity which was telling him to kill her, the High
Court in Dunedin heard yesterday.
The 35-year-old man was yesterday formally declared to have
been insane at the time of the incident and Justice Rachel
Dunningham, of Christchurch, made an order for his detention
as a special patient.
The man denied wounding the victim with intent to cause
grievous bodily harm, counsel Campbell Savage telling the
judge insanity was being raised as a defence to the charge.
Mr Savage called two forensic psychiatrists to give evidence
in support of their written reports about the man's mental
state at the time of the offence and the appropriate way of
dealing with the case.
Dr David Bathgate said the man was suffering from a chronic
psychotic illness in the form of schizophrenia and believed
he was being controlled by a supernatural spiritual entity.
The man believed the entity was controlling his actions
through voices and visual hallucinations when he attacked his
The doctor's opinion was the man's mind was so disturbed at
the time he did not understand the nature of what he was
Dr David Parker agreed the man was suffering from a chronic
schizophrenic illness and that his mind was so affected by
the disease at the time of the alleged offence he would not
have known what he was doing was morally wrong.
The man would have been so controlled by his psychosis he was
incapable of knowing what he was doing, Dr Parker said.
He agreed with Dr Bathgate the man should be detained as a
special patient under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally
Impaired Persons) Act.
Crown counsel Robin Bates said the Crown accepted the
doctors' findings about the man's state of mind and agreed
the defence of insanity was the appropriate outcome.
As to disposition, the Crown was mindful of the issue of
patient safety but believed the case would meet the necessary
standards for a detention order, that the man would pose a
serious risk to the victim and others.
The summary of facts said the incident happened about 8.15pm
on March 13 last year when the man took a 30cm long
steel-bladed knife from a kitchen drawer, approached his
mother from behind and told her: ''I've got to kill you''.
The victim turned to face her son and saw him holding the
knife in his right hand at face level.
He then stabbed her in the right shoulder.
She struggled with him and tried to take the knife from his
hand before running into a bedroom and calling the police.
When the officers arrived, the man was waiting at the front
He said he had stabbed his mother in the shoulder because he
was ''trying to build up the rage to kill her''.
The woman received a 2cm to 3cm long deep cut to her right
shoulder and had to have stitches and antibiotics.
After considering the evidence of both psychiatrists, and
taking into account the Crown's acceptance of it, Justice
Dunningham said she was satisfied the man should be detained
as a special patient.
She made a detention order under section 24 (1) (a) of the
Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act and also
ordered ongoing suppression of the names of the man and his