The mental state of a Traralgon man who struck another man’s head repeatedly has been brought into question after he claimed he was the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.
Nineteen year-old James Gibson told psychiatrist Remy Glowinski he heard messages from the TV and radio telling him to kill and make himself “stand out so that he could be easily rescued by the ‘Nazi Recovery Team'”.
“I remember that I believed I was Hitler. That I was to be driven away. I remember though that I ended up walking away”, Gibson said.
The recount of Gibson’s conversation with his psychiatrist was heard last Tuesday at the Morwell courthouse.
However, Lester Walton, a psychiatrist for the defence, stated the accused had no mental-health history prior to the incident April 3 last year.
After his incarceration, Mr Gibson was hospitalised at the Thomas Embling Hospital for eight and a half months.
Arguments presented to the 13 panel jury from Mr Glowinski and Mr Walton focused on whether the alleged attack was due to a drug-induced episode or an episode of schizophrenia.
Dr Glowinski said Gibson was “quite keen on saying he was unwell”, presenting the doctor with evidence of self-mutilation and speaking at length about his hallucinations during his interview in June this year.
When shown a video of a police interview of the accused, recorded hours after the alleged attack, Dr Glowinski said there were inconsistencies in Gibson’s self-reporting of symptoms.
He said he saw evidence of illogical thinking, shifting from one topic to another, but could not see evidence Gibson was deluded or hallucinating.
“He (Gibson) acknowledged during the interview that he disliked the victim and found him to be rude and abrupt and that he’d laughed too much,” Dr Glowinski said.
“If you put that in contrast with what he told me later about him being – about the victim being a Nazi, it doesn’t add up in that respect.”
Dr Walton said his preferred conclusion was that Gibson was in the “grips of his first episode of schizophrenia, triggered and aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse”.
Prosecutor Campbell Thomson argued it had been proved beyond reasonable doubt Gibson bashed Glenn Sullivan two to six times with his baseball bat on evidence from two brothers, Adam and Lucas Charleston.
Mr Thompson said the evidence was confirmed by the nature of the injuries to Mr Sullivan’s skull.
Defence barrister John Kelly said the case against Gibson relied on the Charlestons’ words but their accounts differed in some respects.
Mr Kelly told the court Adam Charleston said the first blow took place in the kitchen, while his son Lucas Charleston said the attack occurred in the bedroom, adding his account was “a little exaggerated, a little cartoonish, a little unlikely”.
He said if there was any doubt, the appropriate verdict was one of not guilty in relation to murder.
The trial is still underway.