Accused murderer may not be fit for trial

·2-min read

A man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death before jumping or falling from the fourth floor of a southern Sydney unit block still suffers from a significant brain injury, a court has been told.

Weijie He, 22, faced a fitness hearing on Monday in the NSW Supreme Court charged with murdering Liqun Pan after he was found unconscious outside the Wolli Creek unit block on June 27, 2020.

The next day detectives found the 19-year-old's body inside an apartment stabbed to death.

She was a Chinese national studying English on a student visa at the time.

Justice Helen Wilson must determine whether He is mentally and physically well enough to face his murder trial.

Crown prosecutor Philip Hogan said evidence suggests that He "has not been putting in a legitimate effort in the testing he is undertaking".

A surveillance device was installed in the hospital where He was being treated and recorded his interactions with other people and his family, he said.

But defence barrister Mark Dennis SC submitted that the acquired brain injury He suffers since the fall could be affecting his ability to participate.

Two people are due to give evidence about their observations of He's behaviour the night before the alleged attack.

"(It is) significant for the suggestion that there might have been a psychotic episode," Mr Dennis said.

One expert for the Crown found that He was fit to stand trial, while another said it was hard to determine and this could be partly due to "malingering".

Dr Susan Pulman gave evidence that she tested He using a Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) to identify whether his memory issues were genuine or feigned.

She said the test was simple and could be passed by someone who had severe brain damage or dementia, and included identifying simple drawings.

He scored below the expected average which means his answers may not be reliable, or accurate, Dr Pulman said.

But if his responses were genuine and that was his level of understanding, Dr Pulman found He would be unfit to face a trial.

Mr Dennis submitted another senior psychiatrist Dr Olav Nielssen found that He was too unwell for the trial to proceed immediately, and that the issue of whether He was suffering psychosis at the time is relevant to the determination.

Dr Nielssen is due to give evidence before the hearing at a later date.

Mr Dennis said there were seven issues for Justice Wilson to consider, including He's ability to follow the proceedings and understand the effect of the evidence, and his habit of understating his disabilities.

The hearing continues.

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