20 February 2024

Fitness to plead hearing set for woman accused of killing Matthew McLuckie

| Albert McKnight
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boy tying a sweat band around his head

Matthew McLuckie died in a car crash on 19 May 2022. Photo: Tom McLuckie.

A date has been set to hold a fitness to plead hearing for the woman accused of killing Matthew McLuckie in a fatal car crash.

The case against Shakira May Adams returned to the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday (2 November).

Her lawyer said a fitness to plead report had been received and the parties were seeking a hearing date.

The court heard the prosecution will rely on expert reports and make submissions but would not call any witnesses.

Registrar Jayne Reece listed the hearing for 7 February 2024 but asked the lawyers to email her the dates on which they would be unavailable to hold a hearing this year. This is because she was confident a date would become available this year and she wanted to bring it forward if possible.

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The media asked Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury about the case later on Thursday.

“I am aware that the Director of Public Prosecutions has sought a detailed medical report on the defendant’s fitness to plead in this matter,” he said.

“That report will be brought before the court in the coming months.”

He said at the upcoming hearing, the court will examine the evidence provided and form a view on whether Ms Adams is fit to plead.

It is alleged Ms Adams had drugs in her system when she drove a stolen Volkswagen on the wrong side of the road at almost 180 km/h before crashing into 20-year-old Mr McLuckie’s car on 19 May 2022. He died the next day.

After she was charged, a question was raised on whether or not she was fit to plead.

In June, the court heard a report on this issue was “somewhat equivocal”, and its author, Dr Anthony Barker, didn’t express a definitive view that she was not fit to plead.

The prosecution sought its own expert on that question, and in September, the court heard it had engaged Professor David Greenberg, who had done everything he could except speak to Ms Adams at that time.

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Ms Adams, who is aged in her early 20s and is from Bruce, has been an inpatient at the Canberra Hospital.

She has been charged with manslaughter, culpable driving causing death, aggravated reckless driving, unlicensed driving and driving a motor vehicle without consent.

She was committed for trial earlier this year.

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How can an expert in determining fitness to plead make a determination without being allowed to speak with the person?

This is insanity.

She will refuse to be interviewed and remain at liberty, whilst others have lost their’s due to her actions and choices.

How does our justice system reconcile that with the community with which they are supposed to protect?

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