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Australia Bourke Street tragedy: Gargasoulas likely to swap prison for hospital

08:12  04 july  2018
08:12  04 july  2018 Source:   theage.com.au

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Accused Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas is likely to be moved to a psychiatric hospital to undergo treatment for schizophrenia. Mr Gargasoulas has been remanded in prison , where no specialist treatment for schizophrenia is available.

Accused Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas is likely to be moved to a psychiatric hospital to undergo treatment for schizophrenia. The charges they are facing carry a punishment of up to 14 years in prison .

Video provided by ABC News

Accused Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas is likely to be moved to a psychiatric hospital to undergo treatment for schizophrenia.

If the treatment is successful, Mr Gargasoulas could be determined as fit to stand trial in November for allegedly driving a car through the Bourke Street mall on January 21 last year, killing six people and injuring dozens of others.

A jury deliberating on his fitness to stand trial for the tragedy was dismissed last month after failing to come to a unanimous verdict.

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Bourke Street tragedy : Gargasoulas likely to swap prison for hospital . 'Searching for ways to bring you back' Bode Miller's wife shares photos of daughter and message about heartbreak eight weeks after tragedy .

Gargasoulas is alleged to have driven a car on to the footpath and through crowds in Bourke Street , one of the busiest streets in Melbourne, on Friday. He had spent three nights in hospital after having surgery for a bullet wound to his arm sustained in the course of his arrest by police at the scene.

That outcome was described as devastating by a legal representative of the families of five of the Bourke Street victims.

Mr Gargasoulas’s barrister, Dr Theo Alexander, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that a "lack of beds" was making it difficult to admit his client into the Thomas Embling high-security hospital in Fairfield.

Once a bed was available, he said it would take the hospital up to four weeks to assess whether it could suitably accommodate Mr Gargasoulas based on his condition and alleged crimes.

James Gargasoulas is led into court last month. © AAP James Gargasoulas is led into court last month. The hospital will then take a further four to six weeks to determine whether it could effectively treat his schizophrenia.

“It seems preferable, sensible and reasonable to persist with getting a bed,” Dr Alexander said.

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Bourke Street tragedy : Jury to decide if James Gargasoulas is fit to stand trial. "(He) has the presence of mind to know that if it's his lot in life to be saving the world, he wants to be doing that from the relative comfort of Thomas Embling Hospital , rather than the 23-hour lockdown of prison ," crown

A pram on the corner of Bourke and William Street following the rampage through Bourke St mall. Ms Gargasoulas ' other son, Angelo, was allegedly stabbed by his brother Dimitrious and is currently in hospital .

Experts are agreed that Mr Gargasoulas has paranoid schizophrenia but are divided about whether his diagnosis impeded his capacity to enter a plea, understand evidence against him and instruct his solicitors should a criminal trial take place.

Mr Gargasoulas has been remanded in prison, where no specialist treatment for schizophrenia is available.

Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd, QC, told the court her team was anxious to set a second fitness hearing, but they saw merit in Mr Gargasoulas receiving treatment and preferred a date three months away to allow time for him to stabilise.

Justice Mark Weinberg set the week of October 22 for a second fitness hearing, where a new jury will be empanelled to decide whether Mr Gargasoulas will stand trial.

The case will then either go to trial or to a special hearing for a fortnight from November 5, depending on the outcome of the fitness hearing.

Justice Weinberg said he hoped the case would conclude by the end of the year.

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