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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Hannah Neale

Psychiatrists to be examined on alleged killer driver's brain injury

Two psychiatrists are set to be cross-examined to help a court determine if a woman, accused of killing a 20-year-old student in a head-on crash, is fit to plead.

Shakira May Adams, who was allegedly driving a stolen car at the time of the fatal collision, faced a hearing in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Adams is accused of killing 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.

Shakira Adams leaves court with Legal Aid lawyer Ellie Wallis. Picture by Hannah Neale

While two psychiatric reports have suggested she is unfit, Chief Justice Lucy McCallum is seeking further evidence.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Marcus Dyason said the report authors would be cross-examined next time the case was in court.

"The crown hypothesis is based on the papers that the accused is unfit and not going to become fit, the cross-examination will ultimately test the veracity of those conclusions," Mr Dyason stated.

Shakira Adams leaves court on a previous occasion. Picture supplied

Mr Dyason also said the court had received two additional statements from social workers, which claimed Adams had communication issues.

Chief Justice McCallum said the principle issue was Adams' "understanding of proceedings and her ability to instruct her solicitors".

"What [the psychiatrists] talk about, effectively, is her ability to participate and communicate during a trial," the judge stated.

Chief Justice McCallum said she planned to appoint an intermediary to provide "a level of additional support that might overcome those difficulties".

An intermediary can be appointed if a person has a communication difficulty that will impact on their ability to participate in the justice process.

Legal Aid lawyer Jan de Bruin told the court he would need to seek further instructions on this matter.

The aftermath of the 2022 crash that killed 20-year-old Matthew McLuckie, inset. Pictures supplied

The Chief Justice stated the next time Adams was in court, "I will finish this hearing and make a decision promptly after that."

In 2022, Mr 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 the stolen Volkswagen sedan on the wrong side of Hindmarsh Drive when the car hit Mr McLuckie's vehicle at 177km/h.

He died the next day, and Adams was taken to hospital with major injuries.

Adams is set to face court again in May.

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