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Auckland cabbie Hiren Mohini's murder suspect may never stand trial: Kiwi lawyer

By Devaki

Auckland, June 15(ANI): A leading lawyer in New Zealand has said that the 23-year-old man detained in China in connection with the January 31 murder of Indian-origin taxi driver Hiren Mohini may never stand trial.

The murder suspect, named in Auckland District Court files as Zhen Xiao, was located and detained by Chinese authorities in Shanghai last week.

Two Auckland police officers, including officer in charge of the homicide investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones, are in China talking to officials "regarding the next steps in the investigation".

However, former New Zealand Criminal Bar Association President, Graeme Newell, said that New Zealand has no extradition treaty with China, and he has never heard of any alleged criminal being returned there to face justice or "vice versa".

"It seems obvious that lawyers in China acting for that man will be arguing against his removal from China," The New Zealand Herald quoted Newell, as saying.

"I would be surprised if that was simply a matter for governments. That would be a matter for law and legislation, not by ad hoc agreement," he added.

Newell further said that it was unlikely that Zhen would be tried in China for Mohini's killing, particularly as all the witnesses are in New Zealand.

He also highlighted that Zhen "could not be held forever" in a Chinese jail and might be set free "in the same way that a New Zealand citizen might well remain in New Zealand although he or she was suspected of a criminal offence in China".

Meanwhile, officers visited Mohini's widow, Falguni, to let her know that Zhen had been found.

After the meeting, Falguni said: "I'm not interested in all the details, only the outcome. I don't want to hear about everything."

Mohini was killed in a frenzied knife attack on January 31, and police believe that his killer was his last passenger, who attacked him to avoid paying a 15.20-dollar fare.

Earlier, certain media reports had claimed that Mohini's murderer could have fled to China, and that the Auckland Police was in talks with international law enforcement agencies to locate him.

A team of 50 officers had been hunting for Mohini's killer, taking unprecedented steps such as putting up a billboard of a man filmed getting into the cab. (ANI)

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