MURDER CASE IS DELAYED AGAIN
By HELEN JACK
THERE is yet another delay in proceeding with the case of the man charged with the murder of Byron Bay woman Linda Tregerthan.
Vita Tantra, 50, was arrested and charged with Ms Tregerthan's murder on January 15 last year.
However, since then, his case has been%adjourned 11 times.
In the Lismore Local Court yesterday, Tantra, a German national who arrived in Australia in 1980 on a tourist visa, appeared by video link from Sydney's Long Bay Jail, where he has been held since his arrest.
His defence lawyer, Tracey Randall, formally requested another one-month adjournment of the case so a psychiatric assessment could be completed.
"After the report is completed he is almost ready, so I am asking for an adjournment of one month," she said.
Magistrate Nick Reimer granted the adjournment, with Tantra to%appear again by video link on%February 19 for mention.
After a two-and-a-half year investigation by Byron Bay, Tweed and Sydney homicide detectives, Tantra was arrested and charged with the murder by Tweed Heads police.
His arrest came four months after he was charged with assaulting a man.
Tweed/Byron Police Local Area Command crime manager Inspector Greg Carey said the Director of Public Prosecutions had taken over the case.
"It is a serious matter and the DPP took the case over as soon as it went to court," he said.
"If it is a serious case it can take months or even years before it is dealt with in court.
"There needs to be assessments completed in defence of the%accused.
"Because it is only at committal stage I cannot comment on how long it is taking to get to committal."
Ms Tregerthan was murdered in the sunroom of her Shirley Lane home on August 30, 2004.
She was slashed about the face and neck with a knife or sharp%object and was found dead by her then 17-year-old daughter.
Known around Byron Bay as a generous and compassionate woman, Ms Tregerthan opened her home to anyone who needed accommodation.
The huge number of housemates and former housemates who frequented Ms Tregerthan's home ultimately slowed investigations by police.
They had to conduct extensive%interviews and sift through mountains of DNA evidence.
At one point police even thought that Ms Tregerthan's murder might be linked to that of German tourist Simone Strobel, whose body was found in Lismore in February, 2005.
Her murder still remains%unsolved.