The trial of Lauren Dickason, the South African mother on trial in New Zealand for the murder of her three young children, has been postponed until next week due to a sick juror.
NZ Herald reports that Judge Cameron Mander, in consultation with the state and the defence, has decided to postpone the trial until Monday as a member of the jury is unwell and cannot attend the proceedings should they continue on Friday.
The trial will be in its fourth week on Monday.
Details of Dickason’s family life, her battle with depression and the eventual death of six-year-old Liané and two-year-old twins Maya and Karla have so far been heard in the High Court in Christchurch.
Psychiatric experts who evaluated Dickason after her children’s deaths were called to the witness stand this week to give deeper insight and their respective opinions on Dickason’s mental health and the possible motive for the murders.
State witnesses dr. Erik Monasterio and Dr. Simone McLeavey believes that Dickason was not suffering from psychosis or delusions at the time of her children’s deaths and cannot use insanity as a defense.
Dr. However, Susan Hatters-Friedman, an internationally known expert in forensic and reproductive psychology, testified that Dickason suffered from a mental illness at the time of the murders and she was unable to realize what she was doing was morally wrong.
Hatters-Friedman therefore agrees with the defense that in Dickason’s case there was an altruistic motive. This means that Dickason killed her children out of love.
A total of five experts will eventually testify.
Closing arguments are expected to be heard after the experts’ testimony before Mander will summarize the case in its entirety and address the jury about their role.
The jury of four men and eight women will then be sent to deliberate.
The trial is not expected to reach that point until late next week, NZ Herald reports.
Dickason admitted to killing the children in September 2021, but denied it was murder. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and claims in her defense that she was mentally ill during the murders and was not accountable.
“There is no medical defense here; this is murder,” State Prosecutor Andrew McRae argued on behalf of the state.