20 Jul 2018

10 years in psych hospital for stabbing, setting fire to sister

8:18 pm on 20 July 2018

A woman who was charged with stabbing her sister and burning her body in the backyard is likely to spend more than 10 years in a secure psychiatric hospital.

Boushra Rahman appeared at the High Court in Auckland today by audio-visual link from the Mason Clinic.

Ms Rahman has been a special patient since being charged with the murder of her sister in 2008. She is deaf and suffers from an intellectual disability, psychotic illness and borderline personality disorder.

In 2010 she was found unfit to stand trial.

But in 2015, the Attorney-General directed she be put before the court after getting reports from a psychiatrist and psychologist who found her fit.

There were provisos though, Ms Rahman would need help to understand what was being said in court.

Later that year court appearances to assess Ms Rahman's fitness had to be delayed after she was hospitalised for harming herself.

In 2016, there was a depositions hearing in the district court. Judge Tremewan found Ms Rahman fit to stand trial.

The case was sent to the High Court where a trial date was set for September last year.

But the trial did not go ahead.

Two of the three mental health assessors found she was still unfit.

Ian Goodwin was one of those. He found Ms Rahman had only a basic ability to plead and would be unable to follow the process.

Justice Woolford agreed. He concluded she wouldn't be able to follow the court process.

Today, the judge ordered Ms Rahman be made a special patient. He said that was for the protection of the community and so she could receive rehabilitation.

The order was for 10 years but Justice Woolford said it was likely to be longer in order to address the severity of her issues.

Ms Rahman told police she killed her sister after a fight

Police officers who were first on the scene gave evidence at the depositions hearing two years ago.

They arrived at Ms Rahman's west Auckland home to find her sister's charred body in the boot of a car parked in the garage.

Constable Sharon Hearn told the court back Ms Rahman had said she had a fight with her sister who cut her thumb and threatened to kill her.

Ms Rahman told her she had killed her sister and put her body in the boot of the car.

She told another officer back at the police station that she had given her sister medication before stabbing her and setting her body on fire.