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Akash murder trial: New jury selected to consider defendant’s sanity


Akash admitted killing Gurpreet kaur in 2016. (File photo)

Jason Dorday/Stuff

Akash admitted killing Gurpreet kaur in 2016. (File photo)

A new jury has been empanelled to determine whether a man who previously admitted stabbing his pregnant partner and dumping her body near a Hampton Downs road was insane at the time.

The former Indian student known only as Akash, 30, killed Gurpreet Kaur on April 7, 2016.

His trial began on Tuesday, however a new jury had to be empanelled on Wednesday due to a juror no longer being able to serve.

Justice Mathew Downs told the new jury Akash had previously pleaded guilty to murder and was convicted.

READ MORE:
* Man who admitted killing his pregnant partner claims he was insane at the time
* Killer says insanity defence should’ve been raised after pregnant partner stabbed

In October 2020, Akash successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal on the basis insanity may be a defence and quashed the conviction.

Both Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes and Akash’s lawyer Julie-Anne Kincade opened their cases to the jury agreeing it was not disputed who killed Kaur, but the focus of this trial was whether Akash was legally insane at the time of the killing.

Akash’s trial is the first to be held at the High Court since the August lockdown.

RYAN ANDERSON/Stuff

Akash’s trial is the first to be held at the High Court since the August lockdown.

At the time of Kaur’s death, she was between seven and 10 weeks pregnant and was in, a sometimes volatile relationship with Aksah.

A month before the killing, people who knew Akash said he was acting slightly strangely, paranoid and was worried people were trying to hack his email and people were following him.

He was later found to be suffering from schizophrenia.

On April 7, 2016 Akash picked up Kaur from the train station, with the defendant then going to purchase methamphetamine.

At the time he was fuelling a $400 a month meth habit, Kayes said.

Sometime later that morning, Akash took a knife from the car glove box and stabbed Kaur multiple times, including a 10cm cut across the front of her neck and deep stab wounds to her chest and stomach.

He then dumped her body down a bank on the side of a road, Kayes said.

It wasn’t until days later, Akash took police back to the side of the road where Kaur’s body was found.

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said Akash intended to kill his girlfriend. (File photo)

Lawrence Smith/Stuff

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes said Akash intended to kill his girlfriend. (File photo)

Days before Akash took police to Kaur, he was spoken to by police giving multiple different accounts.

First, he denied knowing what happened, even suggesting his brother was involved in Kaur’s death.

“I haven’t killed somebody,” Akash said in that interview.

He then suggested Kaur had stabbed herself, and he tried to stop her.

Ahead of his previous sentencing, Akash told a probation officer the pair had argued as Kaur wanted to break up and the baby she was carrying was not his.

He admitted fetching a knife from the glove box and stabbing her.

During that interview, Akash told the probation officer he’d always heard voices in his head and was told back in India he needed to take medication, however had stopped taking it in New Zealand.

“I can’t believe my anger led me to commit such a horrific crime…. I had no intentions to hurt someone I loved the most. It was my anger that took my freedom and my life away from me. I’m sorry for everything,” Akash told the sentencing judge.

Julie-Anne Knicade QC and Aieyah Shendi are acting for Akash.

Jason Dorday/Stuff

Julie-Anne Knicade QC and Aieyah Shendi are acting for Akash.

Kayes submitted Akash was motivated by rage and jealousy when he stabbed Kaur and knew what he was doing.

Defence counsel Julie-Anne Kincade, QC, said this case was different from other criminal trials, as there was no dispute who killed Kaur.

Kincade said there was no doubt Akash was suffering from schizophrenia when he killed Kaur.

However, she also submitted Akash was also suffering from psychosis and the killing was driven by these symptoms.

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