Paris stabbing suspect called mentally unfit for trial

BY admin

November 08 2003 12:00 AM ET

The man accused of stabbing and seriously wounding the openly gay mayor of Paris last year has been judged mentally unfit for trial by a team of psychiatrists, judicial officials said Friday. Unless the ruling is successfully challenged by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, it will likely lead to the dismissal of the case against Azedine Berkane, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Berkane is accused of knifing Delanoe at a public all-night party at Paris's city hall in October 2002. Officials say he told investigators he attacked the mayor because he disliked gay people. Delanoe suffered a serious wound to the abdomen, but he recovered and returned to work a month after the attack.

The ruling, disclosed Friday, came after a third round of psychological examinations on Berkane. While all the examinations concluded that Berkane suffered psychological problems, they differed on whether he was aware of his actions or could resist violent impulses. Two of the three examinations judged him not responsible for his actions.

The report, issued in October after the third round of tests, called for the "total abolition of judgment" of Berkane, the officials said. Delanoe is free to request a fourth set of tests on Berkane, and it will be up to a judge to comply or refuse. If the case is dropped, Berkane will be committed to a psychiatric hospital.

The first round of examinations found that Berkane suffers from "a mental illness in the form of a chronic delirium" and should be admitted to a high-security psychiatric hospital. The second set of tests showed he retains judgment over his actions despite psychological problems.

Tags: World

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