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Retrial eyed in murder of Austrian-Filipina

19 March 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao
 
Andrea Bayr's brutal killing sent shockwaves through the Filipino community

The Court of Appeal says it is considering allowing the appeal, or ordering a retrial of a Pakistani guard who was jailed for life for murdering his 25-year-old Austrian-Filipina girlfriend nearly four years ago.

Justices Andrew Macrae, Ian McWalters and Derek Pang said in court on Mar 19 that they want to listen to the arguments of both sides when the appeal hearing continues on Apr 9.

The three justices sat on the first day of the hearing at the High Court on Mar. 19.
“The question is, should we allow the appeal, or should we retry?” said Justice MacWalters.

The appellant’s counsel, barrister David Boyton, was visibly relieved when Justice Macrae, after a huddle with the two other judges, gave a hint of the direction of the case.

“We will reconvene to hear your arguments as to what we should do in the event that we allow the appeal,” Macrae said.
Safdar Husnain, 30, is appealing his conviction for the murder of Andrea Bayr on Mar 29, 2016, on the ground of diminished responsibility. He was found guilty after a jury trial before Judge Kevin Zervos in May last year.

Boyton argued that Zervos did not consider a letter from a psychiatrist stating that the 29-year-old defendant was suffering from a narcotics-induced psychosis.

Boyton said the judge apparently misinterpreted the report, and gave a wrong direction to the jury.

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Before the trial, the defense counsel said he had discussed with prosecution the possibility of amending the murder charge to manslaughter after a report by another psychiatrist indicated Husnain’s mental state was affected by his drug-taking.

On questioning by the three justices, counsel for the respondent agreed the trial judge could have misunderstood the report. He also said he did not know the basis for the jury’s verdict, prompting the court to consider allowing the appeal. 


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