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Dickason tragedy: Mom’s mental evaluation to take up to 18 months

The trial date of Dr Lauren Dickason, accused of killing her three children in New Zealand has been set, with the courts allocating around 18 months for an assessment of her mental state, reports TimesLIVE.

As reported previously in MedicalBrief, former Pretoria doctor Lauren Dickason, 40, was arrested last month and charged murdering her three children, two-year-old twin girls Maya and Karla, and their six-year-old sister Liane.

The girls were found murdered in their Timaru home by their father, orthopaedic surgeon Dr Graham Dickason. The family had recently moved to New Zealand to start a new life.

Dickason, who is currently detained at Hillmorton Hospital in Christchurch, has been given a trial date for March 2023.

The time would allow for a psychiatric report to be completed and reviewed by the presiding judge, as well as further assessments of her mental state over the next 18 months. She made her first court appearance on 18 September and was referred to hospital for mental evaluation. She was due to have appeared in court via an audiovisual link from hospital on Tuesday 5 October, but the court heard more time was needed for her health assessment, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The case appeared again in the High Court at Christchurch on Friday. Dickason was excused from attending, even via audiovisual link, as she remains unwell. However, her counsel informed the court that she intended to plead not guilty to the charges.

During the court sitting, Justice Cameron Mander reportedly requested that Dickason provide written notice of her not guilty pleas, to allow legal representative Kerryn Beaton QC to enter the pleas on her behalf on Friday, Stuff reported. The judge was told the defence was arranging an independent psychiatric report, to be submitted alongside the Crownʼs.

The specific information contained in those reports is suppressed, the New Zealand Herald reported.

 

TimesLIVE article – New Zealand murders: Mental evaluation of SA doctor accused of killing her kids could take 18 months (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Dickason tragedy: Further mental observation and trial date

 

Tragic end to Pretoria medical family’s new life New Zealand

 

 

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