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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Zhantali’s trial in false start

By ZBC Reporter

The trial of serial killer Bright Zhantali failed to kick off this Monday after the State queried his mental health.

Representing the State, Prosecutor Terence Mukuze asked High Court judge Rodgers Manyangadze to proceed in terms of the Mental Health Act.

“I am aware that a medical report has since been furnished that asserts that the accused (Zhantali) is fit to understand the charges against him. He was also in his sober senses when he committed the offence.

“We wish to proceed with section 28 of the Mental Health Act and we request that the accused be sent to a mental institution until a mental health tribunal decides on his state.”

His attorney, Raymond Kadani said the court should grant a special verdict as prayed for by the State, citing doctors’ findings that the accused appears to be mentally disordered or intellectually disabled and that the he is failing to appreciate the nature of the court proceedings.

“I do confirm the findings made by the state and agree that it would be prudent that the court acts according to the Mental Health Act. I ask that the court grant a special verdict under the circumstances,” he said.

Zhantali faces more than 20 cases of rape and murder committed in different parts of the country between last year and this year.

With the trial put on hold, Zhantali has been committed to Chikurubi Psychiatric Unit where he will remain locked up while being assessed by doctors before his trial proceeds.
Section 28 of the Mental Health Act deals with a situation whereby the accused has been examined by two doctors to give a determination on whether an accused is mentally fit to stand trial.

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