Cape Town train fire: Accused to be sent for mental observation

2019-06-03 17:27
Smoke spreads through Cape Town CDB from a train fire. (News24)

Smoke spreads through Cape Town CDB from a train fire. (News24)

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The man accused of setting trains on fire at the Cape Town station in April will hopefully begin his 30 days' mental observation from Tuesday, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

Thobela Xoseni's Legal Aid lawyer, Morne Calitz, told the court that he had been made aware that a bed was available for his client at the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital. Xoseni, however, could not be moved as there was no one to transport him.

On Tuesday, he will appear again for the formalisation of his move. Last month, it emerged that Xoseni had been seen by a district surgeon who had drawn up a report relating to Xoseni's mental health.

In terms of Section 77 and 78 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), the psychiatric panel will need to determine whether Xoseni is able to understand proceedings, so as to present a proper defence, or unable to do so due to a mental defect or illness.

What’s more, the panel will - should it observe any mental defect or illness - need to include in its report an opinion on whether the accused could be held criminally responsible for the offence. The arson attack on April 21 destroyed 12 coaches, two motor coaches and nine plain trailers, according to Metrorail group chief strategy officer Dr Sipho Sithole.

Several fires have been reported at the Cape Town station over the last month. Last week, an overhead electrical wire caused an electrical surge, resulting in an explosion of the high tension equipment atop a motor coach.

Platforms 5 and 6 were reopened on Wednesday afternoon, after a fire on Tuesday evening gutted two carriages and damaged a third.

An investigation into the cause of the fires is underway, according to Metrorail. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  courts  |  fire
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