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Man ‘not responsible’ for killing family due to ‘severe mental illness’

By Rana Husseini - Feb 21,2017 - Last updated at Feb 21,2017

AMMAN — The Criminal Court on Tuesday declared a 30-year-old man, who was standing trial for the murder of his mother and two siblings in August 2013 in Amman, not responsible for his actions because he was “mentally ill”, judicial sources said.

The suspect was standing trial for shooting and killing his mother and two brothers, and injuring his sister, while at their home in Bayader Wadi Seer area on August 13.

On Tuesday, the Criminal Court decided that the defendant suffered from psychosis and ordered his detention at the National Institute of Psychiatric Medicine (NIPM) “until physicians there deem him cured and fit to return to society”, the judicial source and his lawyer, Issa Abu Fidda, told The Jordan Times.

“This is a just verdict, because my client has a dangerous mental illness and nobody from his family paid attention to it,” added the court-appointed lawyer.

Abu Fidda said the ruling was issued following heavy cross-examination by the court “of the NIPM physicians who prepared a report in previous court sessions over the past year”.

“The court summoned the doctors, who observed the defendant for over five months at the NIPM and prepared a report about his mental status, and questioned them over its content and their observations to make sure that my client was really suffering from mental illness,” Abu Fidda explained.

Psychosis is a broad term for mental illnesses in which a person loses contact with external reality. 

“Common psychotic experiences include hallucinations [hearing, seeing or feeling things that are not there] and delusions [fixed false beliefs or suspicions that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary],” according to the World Health Organisation’s website.

Court papers said the defendant was at home on the day of the incident, when the victims walked into his room and they had an argument, the court verdict said.

The defendant “pulled a gun and shot his four family members, killing three of them and critically injuring his sister”, the court verdict added.

The tribunal judges were Ibrahim Abu Shamma, Saleh Mur and Azzam Najdawi.  

Criminal Court Prosecutor Sultan Shakhanbeh, who was present when the verdict was read, did not make any requests after hearing the ruling, according to the judicial source.

 

The verdict is subject to appeal by the Criminal Court attorney general at the Cassation Court within the next 30 days.

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