Published on July 16th in The Daily Mail
A Muslim man who murdered a Jewish woman in Paris might not be criminally responsible for his actions because he was high on cannabis, a French judge has ruled.
Kobili Traore, 29, is believed to have tortured Sarah Halimi with beatings for hours in her own Paris apartment while reciting lines from the Koran.
The Mali immigrant then shoved the 65-year-old mother-of-three from the eleventh arrondissement building before reportedly yelling: 'I've killed the Shaitan (devil)!'
He confessed to the 2017 murder but last week at a preliminary ruling a judge - tasked with determining if Traore should stand trial - said that his state of 'acute delirium' may exculpate him from shouldering criminal responsibility.
Psychiatric examinations of the defendant, who claims to smoke up to 15 joints per day, found that his mental functioning was impaired due to his cannabis intake, according to Le Parisien.
Although three assessments determined that Traore's long-term drug habit had not inflicted him with mental illness, their verdicts differed insofar as his mental capacity during the killing.
In 2017, Dr Daniel Zagury deemed Traore's judgement may have been impaired but did not go as far as to suggest that he lacked total control.
But in 2018, Drs Bensussan, Meyer-Buisan and Rouillon said the defendant may not have been aware of 'the potentially inductive effects of a delusion' caused by cannabis.
This was followed up by a final panel who deemed that Traore was not in control of his behaviour.
The President of Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, Francis Kalifat branded the ruling 'unsurprising but hardly justifiable' and vowed to appeal the decision.
Although Traore confessed to the killing, he has never been convicted after being transferred to a psychiatric hospital and declared medically unfit to stand trial.
At the time, Ms Halimi's death grabbed headlines after French authorities refused to label it an anti-Semitic attack - which they eventually did after caving in to public pressure.
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