Judge orders psychiatric evaluation of Jerusalem gay pride parade stabber

Yishai Schlissel refuses to be represented by an attorney and says he does not recognize the authority of the court.

August 5, 2015 15:00
2 minute read.
Yishai Schlissel

Yishai Schlissel arrested after stabbing six people at the Jerusalem gay pride parade. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday ordered Yishai Schlissel, the suspect in the stabbing attack at last week’s Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in order to see if he is mentally competent to undergo a trial that would likely include murder charges.

Schlissel, who was previously imprisoned for 10 years for stabbing three people at the 2005 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, was arrested in the midst of a stabbing rampage at last Thursday’s parade, just three weeks after being released from jail, killing 16-year-old Shira Banki and wounding five others.

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He repeatedly told the court at the hearing that he did not recognize its authority and refused to be represented by an attorney.

The public defender on duty in the courthouse indicated to the court that Schlissel was standing by his guns and had refused to say much of anything to him other than that he was not interested in being represented.
Religious assailant stabs six at Jerusalem Gay Pride march

When the court gave Schlissel a last chance at being represented by the public defender, he answered, “I am not interested in being represented. You have no authority to judge. This [the hearing] is not in accordance with the holy Torah. I don’t want to take part in this illegal show, not by myself and not through any representative.”

Since Schlissel is not represented by a lawyer and is not attempting to defend himself, the motion for a psychiatric evaluation was filed – somewhat unusually though not unprecedented – by the prosecution.

Usually, defense lawyers seek to declare a defendant insane to escape regular prosecution and jail time and the prosecution opposes the insanity plea.

Here, the state was not arguing that Schlissel is insane, and it will likely eventually argue the opposite – that he knowingly perpetrated the stabbings in sound mind.

However, as a strategic matter, the prosecution wanted to have a psychiatric evaluation as early as possible, even before the indictment, so that it could avoid any later attacks on a conviction of Schlissel with the rebuttal that it even made sure that he got a chance to make the insanity plea had he wished to. Following Schlissel’s response and a review of documents submitted by the prosecution, Judge Anat Singer decided there was sufficient evidence against Schlissel to justify a pre-indictment psychiatric observation.

“The defendant will be checked by a district psychiatrist who will determine if he was responsible for his actions at the time he carried out the attack and if he is fit to stand trial,” Singer said.

The judge added that Schlissel should be checked within 48 hours and the results should be available for the court by August 11.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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