Christchurch stabbing: Accused on leave from mental health facility

Source: 1News

A full review into Canterbury DHB's care of a man accused of murdering a Christchurch woman in a "senseless random attack" on Saturday has been launched.

Laisa Maraia Waka, right.

On Sunday, Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price said Laisa Maraia Waka, aged in her 50s, was making her way home from work from the bus stop when she was stabbed by a man she did not know.

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) today announced on Wednesday they will be carrying out a review into the 37-year-old's care.

READ MORE: Christchurch stabbing - Man appears in court over fatal attack

“I can confirm that the man accused of her murder was a patient of the DHB’s specialist mental health service based at Hillmorton, who had been on community leave,” chief executive Dr Peter Bramley said.

“Whenever a serious adverse event occurs involving patients in our care a full review is carried out. A serious event review looks carefully into the care provided.

“I can assure the public that if there are recommendations for changes to be made as a result of our own, or any external review, these will be actioned.

“We continue to assist police with their investigations and as this matter is before the courts it is not appropriate for us to provide any further comment.”

On Monday, the accused appeared in the Christchurch District Court via an audio-visual link and was granted interim name suppression.

Judge Mark Callaghan asked for a Section 38 report under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally impaired persons) Act 2003 to assess the man’s fitness to stand trial.

The man will reappear at the Christchurch High Court next month.

The victim, originally from Fiji, was a mother of four, who died as she returned from work.

Health Ministry investigation underway

Health Minister Andrew Little said the government would also be conducting its own investigation to determine if the CDHB followed proper procedure when allowing community leave.

"This is a person who being's managed by the mental health board, who's been discharged and has been a major risk to the community, people are entitled to assurances in these circumstances."

Although he said DHBs are typical "very, very careful" when allowing community leave for patients, especially those who are receiving compulsory treatment under the Mental Health Act, who pose a danger to themselves or others.

"Decisions to release short term or long term are clinical decisions, ordinarily they are made with notification to others who may have been affected by that person's behaviour in the past."

Little told reporters he expected answers from the office of the director of Mental Health and Addiction Services by the end of next week.