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Vermeulen pleads "not guilty"
10 Jan 2008
By: Liam Camps

Ex-Zimbabwe international Mark Vermeulen admitted guilt to setting fire to the Zimbabwe Cricket headquarters, but pleaded not guilty to arson. His claim of innocence is on the grounds that he was suffering from psychiatric problems at the time of the incident.

Vermeulen stands accused of arson at the ZC headquarters and the national training academy in 2006. He pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial.

Backing his claims of mental problems, psychiatrist Vladimir Rajkovic stated that his client had suffered from partial complex epilepsy and impulsive behaviour disorder at the time. He linked the conditions to an incident where he was struck by a cricket ball whilst playing in Australia.

"The illness causes loss of impulse control and compromises anger management," said Rajkovic. "Mark needs lifelong medication to prevent any stress or causing an epileptic discharge because of that injury."

Government psychiatrist Munyaradzi Madombiro noted: "The damage that has been caused causes this behaviour." He stated that condition is incurable but could be controlled by medication.

Vermeulen played 8 Tests and 32 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe. If convicted, he faces 25 years in prison with hard labour. The trial has been adjourned by magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe to January 30.

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