WAM founder not fit to stand trial

We are More (WAM) founder Craig Peiser during a beach protest last month.

We Are More (WAM) founder Craig Peiser has been declared unfit to stand trial and has been admitted to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital.

Mr Peiser was arrested at Fish Hoek Beach on Saturday February 6 during a protest against the national lockdown after he allegedly pulled a mask from a journalist’s face and refused to wear his mask in a public space.

He faced charges of assault, crimen injuria, contravention of the Disaster Management Act and failing to furnish a police officer with his particulars.

He was sent for psychiatric evaluation after an outburst in court where he allegedly tried to attack the prosecutor and swore at the magistrate.

National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said Mr Peiser was admitted to Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital following a report from Valkenberg forensic psychiatrist Professor Sean Kaliski.

Based on the report, Mr Ntabazalila said, the court found that Mr Peiser didn’t have criminal capacity when the incidents happened and that he couldn’t distinguish between right and wrong.

He would be treated as an “involuntary mental health care user” under the auspices of a mental health review board that would follow the recommendations of the psychiatrists treating him.

“Due consideration will be given by the prosecution to whether someone who is discharged needs to be prosecuted, but each case on its own merits taking into account all the evidence, the mental health history of the accused and the seriousness of the case,” Mr Ntabazalila said.