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Murder accused ‘fit to plea’

The accused appeared in Rotorua District Court on Friday.

The man charged with the murder of Rotorua woman Patricia Wallace has been deemed fit to plea - but his defence lawyer has sought a second report to examine his sanity.

Michael Edward Douthett​, 58, appeared via audio visual link from Waikato Hospital's Henry Bennet Centre at the High Court in Rotorua on Friday.

His lawyer Max Simpkins said the most recent report into his client found "Mr Douthett currently fit to plea".

However, Simpkins also requested a second report regarding his client's mental state.

Prosecutor Amanda Gordon said the Crown may also seek its own psychological report. 

Justice Graham Lang remanded Douthett in custody until a 14 June trial call over, and set a provisional trial date of 12 August this year. 

Douthett faces one charge of murder stemming from an incident in Ngakuru, Rotorua, on 26 November, 2018. 

At an earlier High Court hearing in December Simpkins had entered a plea of not guilty.

-Stuff/Benn Bathgate.

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