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31 Jan 2008 12:50
Former Test cricketer Mark Vermeulen has been cleared of arson attacks on the Zimbabwe Cricket Board’s headquarters after a court found he was suffering psychiatric problems, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Eric Matinenga said Mishrod Guvamombe, the presiding magistrate at Wednesday’s hearing in Harare, had delivered a “special verdict”, which meant Vermeulen had not been in control of his actions when he carried out the attacks.
“A special verdict is retained when a person commits an offence while they are not well up there. If the person is considered to be dangerous to society, he is committed to an institution,” the lawyer told AFP.
“If he does not pose a danger to society, as was found in this case, the person is freed.”
At the start of his trial, Vermeulen pleaded not guilty over the torching of the cricket association offices at the Harare Sports Club in October 2006 and an arson attack at the national training academy the next day.
Vladimir Rajkovic, a private psychiatrist in Harare who examined Vermeulen, told the court his client suffered from partial complex epilepsy and impulsive behaviour disorder after he was hit and injured by a cricket ball during a match in Australia.
The doctor said the condition could only be controlled by medication and could not be cured.
The 29-year-old batsman played the last of his eight Test matches in 2004.—AFP
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