Screenshot 2023 11 23 At 9.46.03 AM

North Shore stabbings: Man accused of attacking strangers pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

  • News

A man accused of attacking multiple strangers with a knife during a rampage on the North Shore this year has been found fit to stand trial.

The 41-year-old, who continues to have name suppression, appeared in Auckland District Court today via an audio-video feed from the Mason Clinic lockdown psychiatric facility as Judge Pippa Sinclair announced her decision.

Defence lawyer Hannah Johnson then entered pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf to four counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and two charges of assault with a knife.

Police descended on the neighbouring suburbs of Murrays Bay and Mairangi Bay in June, after reports that four people had been stabbed in the normally quiet coastal communities.

All of the victims suffered moderate injuries, authorities said at the time.

“There were members of the public that acted in extreme bravery, they apprehended the offender and brought this incident to its conclusion,” Waitematā district commander Superintendent Naila Hassan told media after a man had been taken into custody.

“It could’ve been a lot worse and that’s why I really need to acknowledge the bravery of those members of the public.”

She described the incident as isolated and random, with no indication it was a hate crime.

Judge Sinclair had ordered two forensic psychological reports in preparation for today’s decision about the man’s fitness to stand trial. Most of her decision, which took about 10 minutes to read as she detailed the findings of the reports, was suppressed.

A separate report has been ordered to assess if insanity would be a viable defence at trial. Judge Sinclair directed the case to be kept in the Mentally Impaired Persons Court while the report is being gathered.

A new hearing date has now been set for February to evaluate the findings of the latest report and to determine if name suppression should remain in place.

The defendant is expected to stay at the Mason Clinic in the meantime.