Amber-Rose murder-accused appears in court

Dunedin health professional Venod Skantha accused of murdering Amber-Rose Rush (16) appears in...
Dunedin health professional Venod Skantha accused of murdering Amber-Rose Rush (16) appears in the Dunedin High Court in March. Photo: ODT
A Dunedin doctor accused of the murder of a teenage girl is back before the court today but the public have been shut out and the media gagged.

Venod Skantha (31) appeared in the High Court at Dunedin this morning but before the hearing began Justice Gerald Nation indicated all substantive matters would be suppressed.

He also ordered the court be locked down and only counsel and accredited media could remain.

Today's court date has been scheduled to hear “pre-trial issues”.

Amber-Rose Rush.
Amber-Rose Rush. Photo: Supplied
Justice Nation said when he eventually released a ruling on those matters he would specify what more could be disseminated to the public.

Skantha is charged with the murder of 16-year-old Amber-Rose Rush, who was found dead in her Corstorphine home on February 2.

The defendant — then a doctor at Dunedin Hospital — was charged days later and has pleaded not guilty to that as well as a count of indecent assault and four of threatening to kill.

Skantha is represented by Christchurch’s Jonathan Eaton,QC, who appeared on his behalf today.

The defendant was declined electronically-monitored bail by the High Court and that decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal in a ruling made in September.

Skantha graduated from Auckland University in 2014 and was previously registered to practise medicine as a ‘‘house officer’’ at the Southern District Health Board.

His jury trial is set down for March next year.

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