Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mother accused of abuse - mentally fit for trial


The psychiatrist who evaluated the Jerusalem haredi mother suspected of nearly starving her three-year-old son to death was expected to announce Thursday that she does not pose a threat to her two other children and is fit to stand trial.

According to various local media reports, Dr. Yaakov Weill, the psychiatrist appointed to evaluate her, was set to refute claims that the woman was suffering from Munchausen's-by-proxy.

The Jerusalem's Magistrate's Court will convene later Thursday to discuss the woman's house arrest conditions after the psychiatrist presents his findings.

The court placed the woman under house arrest last week on condition that she take the test, and her refusal to carry it out on Sunday put that agreement in jeopardy.

The woman eventually showed up for a series of psychiatric examinations which commenced on Tuesday night in the city's Arnona neighborhood. It came despite pressure from some members of the extremist Eda Haredit organization not to do so until she was allowed to meet with her children, or until her child was removed from Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Medical Center at Ein Kerem.

The mother, who is five months pregnant, is suspected of severely abusing her child for two years, until he weighed a mere 7 kilograms.

The hospital claims it has footage of the woman disconnecting her son's feeding tube.

Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman told Israel Radio on Thursday that if the woman is indeed deemed mentally stable, she shouldn't need to stand trial. Litzman said that a Health Ministry committee would examine the hospital's conduct in the case. [...]

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