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Europe

Psychiatrists take the stand on Fritzl's third trial day

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Video by Angela YEOH , Willy BRACCIANO

Latest update : 2009-03-18

The trial of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man accused of locking up his daughter Elisabeth for 24 years, and fathering seven children with her, resumed for a third day. A verdict could come as early as Thursday.

AFP - Psychiatric and technical experts will take centre stage here Wednesday, on the third day of the trial for incest and murder of Josef Fritzl, who locked his daughter up for 24 years.
   
Psychiatrist Adelheid Kastner, who concluded in a report that Fritzl, 73, suffered serious personality problems, was to go on the stand, a day before the verdict was expected.
 

 
Opinions by two technical experts regarding the cellar in which Fritzl locked his daughter Elisabeth for 24 years and fathered her seven children, were then to be read out to the court.
   
Fritzl has pleaded guilty to incest, rape and sequestration for imprisoning and raping Elisabeth, now 42, over nearly a quarter of a century.
   
The prosecution accuses him of letting a baby die shortly after birth in 1996, but Fritzl maintains it was still-born and he burnt the body.
   
For murder, he faces life in prison.
   
A neo-natal expert was called to testify Tuesday to help determine if indeed Fritzl was responsible for the death of the newborn.
   
The content of the testimony was withheld from the public as the trial is being held behind closed doors, to respect the identities of the victims.
  
The media however was to be allowed back into the courtroom on Wednesday for the remainder of the trial, except during the three judges' deliberations in preparation for the verdict.
   
Psychiatrist Kastner, who concluded in her 130-page report that Fritzl was responsible for his actions during the 24 years he raped and abused his daughter, will testify as to whether the defendant is likely to be a repeat offender.
   

If so, Fritzl could be committed to a facility for mentally abnormal offenders, as requested by the prosecution.
   
On Thursday afternoon, the three trial judges were to draw up a set of key questions to help the eight-person jury decide their verdict. The media was to be excluded from this part of the proceedings.
   
The court was supposed to finish viewing over 11 hours of testimony by Elisabeth and one of her brothers on Tuesday, which were videotaped to spare them an appearance at the trial.
   
Fritzl was also put on the stand and questioned about the testimonies.
   
According to court spokesman Franz Cutka, the swift proceedings meant a verdict could come already on Thursday, a day earlier than expected.


 

Date created : 2009-03-18

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