9 April 2024

Lawyers for alleged Bruce murderer Van Vu explore mental impairment defence

| Albert McKnight
crime scene at Bruce

Thi Thuy Huong Nguyen, 65, was allegedly murdered at a home in Bruce in October 2023. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Lawyers for a man accused of killing his partner at a home in Bruce last year are exploring a defence of mental impairment.

Van Thanh Vu, 71, pleaded not guilty to his charge of murder after he was accused of stabbing 65-year-old Thi Thuy Huong Nguyen at a two-storey home in Kinloch Crescent on 23 October 2023.

Ms Nguyen’s daughter called police to the scene and emergency services allegedly arrived to find her with stab wounds from a knife in the kitchen.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Mr Vu was allegedly found with injuries to his wrists and was unresponsive. He was taken to hospital and then charged several days later.

He appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court over audio-visual link on Tuesday (9 April), assisted by a Vietnamese interpreter.

His lawyer, Nathan Deakes from Legal Aid, asked for a short adjournment, saying his team was exploring a defence of mental impairment.

He said a Vietnamese forensic psychiatrist had been engaged for the case, but was conflicted out of the matter once he received the material involved.

Mr Deakes also said his office was yet to receive an updated brief of evidence.

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There was a back-and-forth discussion between Mr Vu, his interpreter and the court at times during the hearing.

“My memory is not that great, so I don’t recall much at all,” he said via the interpreter at one stage.

Special Magistrate Sean Richter remanded Mr Vu in custody to appear in court on 7 May for a mention or committal.

Mr Deakes said he hoped to commit his client to the Supreme Court on the next occasion.

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