20 February 2024

Ambiguous report prepared on fitness to plead question in Matthew McLuckie case

| Albert McKnight
Start the conversation
Tom McLuckie

Matthew McLuckie has been described as a “beautiful, gentle, compassionate young man”. Photo: ACT Policing.

The question of whether the woman accused of killing Matthew McLuckie is fit enough to plead is undetermined for now, as an expert report prepared on the issue is ambiguous.

It is alleged that Shakira May Adams was driving a stolen Volkswagen on the wrong side of the road at no less than 177 km/h before she crashed into Mr McLuckie’s car on 19 May 2022.

The 20-year-old Mr McLuckie, who had been heading home from work, died the day after the Hindmarsh Drive collision.

Ms Adams is also accused of driving while she had drugs in her system and not holding a driver’s licence.

Police have previously said she suffered significant injuries and needed extensive medical care.

READ ALSO Murderer Kenan Dowden-Carlisle stabbed Indigenous Australian man to death in Civic

Ms Adams, who is from Bruce and is aged in her early 20s, has been handed five charges that include manslaughter and was committed to the ACT Supreme Court for trial earlier this year.

However, the question of whether or not she was fit to plead was reserved at the time.

When the question was raised in court again on Wednesday (21 June), prosecutor Anthony Williamson SC said a report on the issue was “somewhat equivocal”, and its author, Dr Anthony Barker, didn’t express a definitive view that she was not fit to plead.

The prosecutor said that Dr Barker seemed to suggest that if reasonable accommodations could be made to the trial process, she may be fit.

However, he added that this interpretation was not expressly stated in the report.

Mr Williamson wanted the prosecution to obtain its own expert report from a different author and asked for an adjournment to do so, which Ms Adams’ lawyers didn’t disagree with.

READ ALSO ‘Slap boxing’ drives stepfather into ‘Dad mode’, chokes two boys

Chief Justice Lucy McCallum agreed the report was equivocal and didn’t rule out the possibility that she is fit to plead.

The report did flag the likelihood that her position was not yet stabilised.

The chief justice noted that the prosecution wanted an additional report to assist in determining the fitness to plead question and adjourned the matter to 21 September.

The court had heard that Ms Adams was an inpatient at the Canberra Hospital and would not appear in person that day.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.