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Accused killer needs move to psychiatric ward: lawyers

Lawyers for accused killer Luigi Costa say he should be bailed to Calvary Hospital’s private psychiatric ward because he can’t get the tests and treatment he needs in jail. 

But a magistrate has warned the institution’s 30-minute observations – the closest scrutiny they offer – “doesn’t comfort me greatly”.

Costa, 69, is in the fourth month of a bail application before the ACT Magistrates Court, where his case has again been adjourned to gather more information about his mental state.

The court on Monday heard the case was complicated by a communication breakdown between the defence team and the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

Costa has been locked up on remand since July when he was charged with the stabbing murder of his 89-year-old neighbour Terrence Freebody.

Police allege he killed Mr Freebody at Costa’s Mugga Way home.


On July 22 officers responding to a triple-zero call, allegedly from Costa, found Mr Freebody on the dining room floor and the accused man in a bathroom.

Costa has pleaded not guilty, and is expected to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.

In the meantime his lawyers have sought scans and psychiatric reviews in a bid to determine their client’s mental health and possible defences.

The court has heard psychiatrists suspected he suffers from Alzheimer’s and an alcohol-related issue.

He has undergone a CT scan and met with doctors.

His lawyer, Kamy Saeedi, attempted to fax the jail late last month to organise an MRI scan, but the court heard the fax instead reached the machine of an ex-employee.

The court today heard Costa had been offered a bed at Hyson Green, which could become available in about a week or possibly sooner.

But a Hyson Green psychiatrist told the court the facility was not secure, and routine checks on patients were done at half-hourly intervals at best.

Magistrate Peter Dingwall said that didn’t comfort him greatly.

The case was adjourned until Monday.

Costa is expected to be committed to the Supreme Court on November 30.