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High Court accepts second psychiatric assessment
High Court accepts second psychiatric assessment

High Court accepts second psychiatric assessment

One of the men accused of murdering Andre Heckmair has failed in his attempt to be declared unfit to stand trial because of an alleged head injury during an escape attempt.
Fred Goeieman
The High Court yesterday ruled that murder accused Marcus Kevin Thomas does not suffer from any mental illness or mental defect, rendering him fit to stand trial.

Thomas, an American citizen accused of the 2011 murder of Andre Heckmair along with his co-accused Kevin Townsend, is capable of understanding court proceedings relevant for a proper defence.

Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday found that Thomas is capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act in respect of the offence he is charged with.

“The accused acted in accordance with an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his actions,” the judge said.

A second psychiatric assessment of Thomas''s mental state had been ordered after the prosecution challenged the findings of a psychiatrist in the first assessment.

Judge Liebenberg said the court, in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act, ordered that the accused be re-examined by a state psychiatrist as well as a private one.

He said subject to the psychiatrist''s report a psychologist was instructed to examine Thomas''s neurological status.

Defence lawyer James Diedericks argued that the reports of the psychiatrists and the psychologist should not be admitted as evidence.

He charged that that the psychologist''s report was inadmissible because the Criminal Procedure Act provides that only psychiatrists can conduct such assessment. Liebenberg acknowledged that the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act require a psychiatrist to report on the mental status of an accused, and not a psychologist. He pointed out, however, that the psychologist''s report is not before the court in terms of the Act.

“The psychologist''s report is admissible in that it was relevant to one of the psychiatrists'' report who gave evidence in terms of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act,” the judge said.

He explained that though the court order was not adhered to, the irregularity is not severe enough to render the entire procedure void.

“There is no evidence before the court that the accused suffered prejudice in any way,” Liebenberg emphasised.

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Namibian Sun 2024-05-27

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Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 354.79/OZ UP +0.75% | Copper US$ 4.80/lb UP +1.27% | Zinc US$ 3 077.30/T UP 0.19% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 83.24/BBP UP +1.11% | Platinum US$ 1 054.13/OZ UP +2.32%