A man from Canberra, Wajid Kakar, who launched a violent attack on three individuals with a meat cleaver, has been declared not guilty of murder on the grounds of mental impairment. The verdict was delivered by Justice Belinda Baker in the ACT Supreme Court after reviewing the assessments of four experts.
The forensic examinations by two psychiatrists revealed that Mr. Kakar likely had a pre-existing psychotic disorder, possibly schizophrenia, when he assaulted his housemates, resulting in the death of one. Justice Baker, while presenting her verdict, described the assault as harrowing, where Kakar “repeatedly stabbed and chopped at the victims.”
The incident, which transpired on February 20, 2021, witnessed Mr. Kakar attacking his housemate, Michael Williams, causing fatal injuries including a fractured skull and an almost severed spinal cord. Another housemate, Simon Tyler, survived after receiving over 40 lacerations. Asha Miller, a visitor, recounted the horrifying ordeal, mentioning that during the attack, she saw her own skull in a mirror reflection. Prompt emergency surgeries saved the lives of Mr. Tyler and Ms. Miller following a neighbor’s alert to the police.
While recounting the incident to psychiatrists, Mr. Kakar professed having no memory of the attacks. In her ruling, Justice Baker expressed confidence in the evaluation that Mr. Kakar’s actions were influenced by his mental illness. Highlighting the unpredictability of his behavior and the unprovoked nature of the assault, she emphasized the severe threat he poses to society. Citing expert opinions, she mentioned the potential of recurring psychotic episodes.
Justice Baker ordered that Mr. Kakar be detained for a duration that could extend up to 30 years, a sentence reflecting the gravity of the crime and its impact on the victims and the broader community.