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Family said Chand would be watched: lawyer

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/06/2017

The lawyer for the man who killed Auckland teen Christie Marceau while on bail says her client's aunt and mother repeatedly said someone would be with him around the clock if he was let out.

Ms Marceau,18, was stabbed to death in November, 2011 at her North Shore home, barely a month after Akshay Chand was released on bail to about 350 metres from the house.

This was despite him facing charges of kidnapping her and holding her at knifepoint, and the teen expressing fears for her own safety.

Chand, then 18, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering the teen and detained as a special patient.

At a coroner's inquest into the killing on Thursday, Chand's lawyer, Mary-Anne Lowe, said she would not have told a court on several occasions Chand could be watched around the clock by his mother and aunt while on bail if the family had not told her so repeatedly.

"I was reassured by them both ... he was able to be in one of their companies 24 hours a day."

Neither Chand's mother nor his aunt were at the home the morning he killed Ms Marceau.

Ms Lowe said she believed the family "completely understood their obligations" after a conversation they had once bail was granted.

She told the inquest that while she kept notes of her conversations, the file for Chand's case had been destroyed after she moved offices.

Under cross-examination, Ms Lowe accepted the bail bond given to Chand did not feature 24-hour supervision as a condition, but said the judge's comments had left her with the impression it was part of the decision and that bonds did not always mirror what was said in court.

Asked about an initial court decision declining Chand bail in September, 2011 - in which Judge Barbara Morris noted the closeness of the two homes - Ms Lowe said she did not take the judges' comments to rule out the possibility of releasing her client to his family home after he had a psychological assessment.

"I didn't take she had formally dismissed the application," Ms Lowe said, pointing to a lack of a note on the court file.

Chand would apply again - following a report and having started mental health treatment - and was granted bail in October by a different judge.

That second judge, Judge David McNaughton, didn't have the transcript of the September decision on file, the inquest has heard.

Earlier in the inquest, his mother, Suchita Chand, accepted she had told Ms Lowe the family would be able to monitor her son around the clock, but also said she would never have agreed to 24-hour supervision because her work schedule did not allow it.

Her sister, Amita Williams, said their schedules meant there would be a gap of a couple hours each day when no one would be at the home with Chand, but would not answer when asked if she thought that made the submissions to the court untrue.

Both said they were never given proper instructions about Chand's supervision from the court and sometimes just checked in over the phone.

The inquest continues.

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