ACT News

License article

Man accused of Red Hill murder denied bail

Accused killer Luigi Costa will remain behind bars after his latest bid for freedom was on Monday dismissed by a Canberra judge.

Costa’s lawyers on Friday argued in the ACT Supreme Court that their client should be bailed to a psychiatric centre because he may have Alzheimer’s and was unlikely to stand trial until 2014.

But the prosecution opposed the application, arguing the 70-year-old should remain in custody because it was unclear what prompted the alleged crime.

Justice Richard Refshauge heard the application last week and on Monday dismissed the bail application.

Justice Refshauge said there was no evidence Costa’s condition had deteriorated while in custody and could see no special or exceptional matters that warranted bail.

The Red Hill man has been committed to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court for the alleged stabbing murder of 89-year-old Terrence Freebody, who lived across the road.


Costa has been locked up on remand since July when police allege that he killed Mr Freebody at Costa’s Mugga Way home.

Officers responding to a triple-0 call, allegedly from Costa, found Mr Freebody on the dining room floor and the accused man in a bathroom.

Defence barrister John Purnell SC, on Friday asked Justice Refshauge to bail his client to the Calvary Hospital’s private psychiatric ward for treatment.

It was Costa’s second bid for bail, after a long, unsuccessful application in the ACT Magistrates Court.

The defence are seeking a gerontologist’s report so a forensic psychiatrist can assess his fitness to plead.

The court has previously heard other psychiatrists suspect Costa has Alzheimer’s and possibly an alcohol-related condition.

Mr Purnell argued the likely delay in going to trial, his client’s offer to put up a substantial surety and Costa’s age and apparent infirmity justified his release.

But prosecutor Anthony Williamson opposed the man’s release.

He described the alleged killing as an "exceptionally violent, brutal and frenzied attack" and noted the reason for the incident was unclear.