Hostage taker sent to shrink

A district surgeon has recommended that the man who allegedly held eight staff members of the Pretoria News hostage be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

A district surgeon has recommended that the man who allegedly held eight staff members of the Pretoria News hostage be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

The surgeon's report was handed in to the Pretoria regional court where Lionel George, 32, of Danville, Pretoria, appeared yesterday.

He faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and pointing an object that looked like a firearm.

Arrested on April 25, George asked the court for permission to see a psychiatrist during his first appearance. The court explained that he would first need to be examined by a district surgeon.

According to the surgeon's report, the accused appeared calm, but aggressive. He apparently understood the charges against him, but did not have the insight to understand what he had allegedly done.

"[He] feels what he did was right under the circumstances. He doesn't realise the implications of a conviction," the report stated.

"The accused would not be able to follow a court trial and should be evaluated by a psychiatrist."

During the court proceedings, magistrate Frans Poolman asked George if he had appointed a legal representative. The accused said he had applied for legal aid, but no attorney had been to see him.

State prosecutor Elsabe Parratt said it might take up to two months to arrange for a bed at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria for evaluation, but suggested the case be postponed until next week for the accused to appoint a lawyer. - Sapa

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