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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Hannah Neale

Judge 'not persuaded' alleged killer driver unfit to plead

Shakira May Adams leaves court on Wednesday. Picture supplied

A judge is "not persuaded" by two expert reports about whether a woman accused of killing a student in a head-on crash is fit to plead, and is seeking further evidence.

The alleged killer, Shakira May Adams, faced a hearing in the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Adams is accused of killing 20-year-old Matthew McLuckie when she allegedly crashed head-on into his vehicle in May 2022.

She is yet to enter pleas to five charges, including manslaughter and culpable driving causing death.

The case so far has centred around whether Adams, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash, is fit to plead and potentially stand trial.

Two reports from two separate psychiatrists had been tendered to the court to help determine this question.

On Wednesday during a hearing to determine if Adams is fit to plead, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum said the "principle issue is her capacity to follow proceedings with all the support the court can give".

While Legal Aid lawyer Jan de Bruin and prosecutor David Swan were in agreement that Adams was not fit to plead, the judge adjourned the hearing for the parties to gather more evidence.

The aftermath of the crash that killed Matthew McLuckie, inset. Pictures supplied

Chief Justice McCallum said based on the two reports she was "not persuaded" Adams was unfit.

She stated that both report authors agreed Adams understood the nature of the charges.

However, the expert opinions differed "about her capacity to exercise the right to challenge jurors", the judge said.

"My task is to assess capacity for the accused to follow a trial in a way that will result in her having a fair trial."

Chief Justice McCallum flagged the possibility of having an intermediary appointed to ensure Adams understood proceedings, if the case did go to a trial.

In 2022, Matthew McLuckie was heading home from his part-time job at the Canberra Airport when his Holden Astra was allegedly hit almost head-on by Adams in a stolen Golf.

Adams was allegedly driving a stolen Volkswagen sedan on the wrong side of Hindmarsh Drive when the car hit Mr McLuckie's vehicle at no less than 177km/h.

He died at the scene while Adams was taken to hospital with major injuries.

Adams is set to face court again in January 2024.

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