An independent psychiatric report will assess whether an elderly man charged with murder was mentally competent at the time of the alleged offence.

Daniel Dunn, 84, is on bail to reside at a hospital psychiatric ward.

He allegedly murdered his wife Edith Dunn, 86, at their Gladstone home in South Australia's mid north last December before calling police to the property where they found her body.

Dunn faced the Supreme Court for an arraignment hearing and pleaded not guilty to murder, but was not required to enter the dock in his wheelchair and sat at the back of the courtroom with a listening device.

The court heard there were questions about his mental competence and ordered an independent psychiatric assessment of his fitness to plead.

The case will return to court next month.

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