Judge halts Lismore murder trial
By HELEN JACK
THE Lismore Supreme Court trial of a Tabulam man charged with murdering his father at Tabulam in 2006 was stopped yesterday when the defence barrister questioned his client's fitness to continue.
Luke Macuik has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mykalaj Charles Macuik, by reason of mental illness.
Defence barrister Chris Bruce sought an adjournment from Justice Graham Barr so he could brief Macuik on the progress of the trial and the possibility of a lesser charge of manslaughter.
However, during the briefing, Mr Bruce said Macuik had not understood him and became agitated.
He said Macuik had also displayed paranoid moments during the interview.
Justice Barr agreed to stop the trial so Macuik could be assessed by a psychiatrist.
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow, when Justice Barr will make a decision if Macuik is fit to continue.
Earlier in the day, Macuik's mother, Kim Godfrey, took the stand and described how, in early 2002, she had noticed her son was smoking cannabis. She said her son was living with her at Tweed Heads and told how he had changed from an outgoing friendly teenager to a troubled and%reclusive man.
She described how her son's behaviour, his sleeping patterns and eating habits had also changed.
Ms Godfrey then spoke of instances when her son thought he was being spied upon and followed.
She also explained how he began stealing money from her, hocked her lap top computer and threatened her with violence on one occasion.
"We had an argument and he raised his fist to my head and threatened me," she said.
"I told him to go to his room and settle down.
"After that I asked him to leave and that was when he moved in with his father, then living at Tumbulgum."
Macuik later returned to his mother's home for a brief%period, before returning to live with his father.
Ms Godfrey said her son phoned her soon after saying he thought his father was trying to poison him and asked her to come and pick him up.
Macuik returned to his father's home and in early 2003, barricaded himself in the house after threatening his father with violence.
Ms Godfrey said she called a mental health unit for assistance, but was told there was nothing they could do for her until her son reached hospital.
When she arrived at her ex-husband's home she found Mr Macuik in the front yard, with her son locked inside the house. They called the police for help, but they did not%arrive.
Macuik allegedly killed his father, who by then was living at Tabulam, in early 2006,%burying him on the property where they were living.