Aiia’s dad pleads for murder case to be delayed
The father of slain student Aiia Maasarwe has tried to have her killer's court hearing adjourned so he can fly to Melbourne.
As the second day of a pre-sentence hearing for Codey Herrmann kicked off in Victoria's Supreme Court this morning, prosecutor Patrick Bourke applied, on behalf of Ms Maasarwe's dad Saeed, to delay the case.
Mr Bourke said widespread media reporting overnight of the case had been distressing for Mr Maasarwe and he wanted to be present for the balance of the hearing.
He said Mr Maasarwe was in China, while his wife and two surviving daughters were in Israel, so they would need a week to get to Australia.
"These proceedings are about the murder of my daughter. I now need to be there," Mr Maasarwe told Mr Bourke on a phone call this morning, the court heard.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said she did not want to cause any further distress to the victim's family, but was "hesitant" to delay the case.
Her court diary meant she was not available next week, with an adjournment likely to see the case not finalised until next year.
"It seems to me to be in no-one's interest to adjourn," Justice Hollingworth said.
She said the family had been aware of this hearing and provided victim impact statements, which were read out in court yesterday.
"It's always been open for the family to be here," she said.
She said the court can also offer video link arrangements around the world, but this was never requested.
Justice Hollingworth remarked the media reporting of the case that she had seen had been "very responsible".
She dismissed the application but set sentencing down for October 29 to allow the family time to make arrangements to be here.
Horrific details emerged on the first day of the hearing yesterday of Ms Maasarwe's final moments as Herrmann beat her over the head multiple times with a pole and raped her as she walked home in Bundoora on January 16.
Herrmann, 21, has pleaded guilty to murder and rape.
The prosecution is pushing for the maximum penalty of life behind bars.
But defence barrister Tim Marsh said such a sentence would be crushing for such a young man with no prior convictions.
Mr Marsh did not try to excuse Herrmann's crimes, but urged Justice Hollingworth to take into consideration his early guilty plea and personal circumstances when sentencing him.
He said Herrmann was repeatedly abused and neglected from six months.
His lifestyle had become one of pursuing intoxication through methamphetamine and cannabis, he said.
"His life followed a rhythm that was essentially, get Centrelink, buy drugs, share them with mates, shoplift food from the supermarket," Mr Marsh said.
"He subsisted on a diet of croissants and chocolate milk."
The court heard Herrmann first started showing signs of aggression in school, where he was "unable to stop himself harming other students".
He was angry about life and how people treated him, the court heard.
"Even my mates made fun of me," he told Mr Marsh from prison.
Mr Marsh said: "This issue of gross power imbalance between himself and the world is the fuel that's driving this offending."
The hearing continues.