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HARARE - Former Test player Mark Vermeulen has been cleared of arson attacks on the Zimbabwe cricket board's headquarters after a court found he was suffering from psychiatric problems, his lawyer said yesterday.
Eric Matinenga said Mishrod Guvamombe, the presiding magistrate at Wednesday's hearing in Harare, had delivered a "special verdict", which meant Vermeulen had not been in control of his actions when he carried out the attacks.
"A special verdict is retained when a person commits an offence while they are not well up there [mentally]. If the person is considered to be dangerous to society, he is committed to an institution.
"If he does not pose a danger to society, as was found in this case, the person is freed."
At the start of his trial, Vermeulen pleaded not guilty over the torching of the cricket association offices at the Harare Sports Club in October 2006 and an arson attack at the national training academy the next day.
Vladimir Rajkovic, a private psychiatrist in Harare who examined Vermeulen, told the court his client suffered from partial complex epilepsy and impulsive behaviour disorder after he was hit and injured by a cricket ball during a match in Australia. - Sapa-AFP