Trial date set for alleged stabbing of Chilean backpacker
A FORMER backpacker hostel cleaner charged with stabbing a Chilean tourist in the neck will fight the charge he was trying to kill her in a trial set down for later this year.
Filmmaker Constanza "Kuki" Escudero, 26, was millimetres from death following the alleged attack in the kitchen area of the Bunda St hostel in Cairns in August last year.
Northern Territory man Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthi, 36, was working as a part-time cleaner there at the time.
He has been charged with attempted murder and is yet to enter a plea.
Defence barrister Tim Grau told the Cairns Supreme Court yesterday the case would be proceeding to trial with Justice Jim Henry setting it down to start on August 31.
Ms Escudero returned to Chile to continue her recovery shortly after the alleged incident and continues to undergo medical treatment.
Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane said their preference was for her and friend Marisol Fernandez, who she was travelling with at the time, to return to Cairns for the trial, but said this may not be possible due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
"The fact is they can't travel in the current climate," he said.
He said there was the prospect of the women appearing via video link and estimated the trial would run less than five days.
Mr Grau said the case may also be suitable for a judge only trial.
The Cairns community rallied behind Ms Escudero following the alleged incident with a crowd-funding account raising more than $4000.
Police have alleged the knife travelled 8cm into her neck, only narrowly missing a major artery and breaking several small bones in her neck.
Attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Originally published as Trial date set for alleged stabbing of backpacker in Cairns