TODAY |

Karori homicide accused cries in court, while second woman accused of hiding gun smirks at family

A 35-year-old woman who appeared at Wellington District Court today charged with murder cried during the bail hearing.

Source: File image

She was arrested yesterday over the homicide investigation into the death of Rau Tongia, who was shot and killed at an address in the Wellington suburb of Karori on December 20.

If convicted, the woman could be sentenced to life in prison.

The defendant became emotional as the proceedings began but was composed for the remainder of the hearing.

Her lawyer sought interim name suppression for his client, citing fears for her mental health as a primary reason, along with extreme hardship, and the risk of prejudice to a fair trial.

Judge Mills told the court the woman had faced charges as recently as six months ago, from which the defendant had not shown any signs of mental health struggles - but he did grant interim name suppression until her next appearance at the High Court on February 12.

Her lawyer requested a mental health assessment for his client, as well as an assessment for her substance abuse to determine her fitness to plead and stand trial.

Her lawyer made no application for bail, so the defendant will be remanded in custody until her next court appearance in February 12.

A second woman, charged as an accessory to the murder for allegedly hiding the murder weapon, also appeared at Wellington District Court today.

The charge could see the second woman imprisoned for seven years.

The 20-year-old smirked at family and friends, while also mouthing words to them during the proceedings.

The woman was also granted interim name suppression by Judge Mills.

Her lawyer requested the suppression on the grounds that an elderly relative had not yet been told about the charges or incident, and it would come as a huge shock to them.

The request was for name suppression to be granted until her next appearance, also set for February 12, in order for the relative to be informed.

Family and friends yelled messages of love to the woman as she left the courtroom.

No application for bail was made for the 20-year-old woman, and she will also be remanded in custody until her Wellington High Court hearing next month.