The alleged killer of Victorian surfer Sean McKinnon has deferred his plea on murder charges due to mental health concerns.
The matter had a first High Court hearing on Tuesday morning in Hamilton, but on medical advice, Justice Lang has excused the man due to stand trial.
In the video above: Woman’s close encounter with Sean McKinnon’s alleged killer
Neither Crown counsel nor the man’s defence opposed the deferring.
The 23-year-old New Zealander will be required to enter a plea on his next hearing appearance, set for October 29.
The trial has been laid down to begin on November 16, 2020, with three weeks allocated to hear the case.
Mr McKinnon, a 33-year-old from the western Victorian surf town of Nirranda, was buried last month in a moving funeral in nearby Warrnambool.
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His fiance, Canadian midwife Bianca Buckley, was sleeping alongside Mr McKinnon in his campervan when he was shot several times on August 16.
She fled through the bush on the outskirts of the North Island town of Raglan, seeking refuge in a farmhouse where she alerted authorities to her partner’s death.
The suspect was apprehended on the outskirts of Hamilton the next day, having driven the campervan for some time before abandoning it.
The accused, the subject of a court order suppressing his identity, did not attend the hearing and will be remanded in custody until then.