Mentally ill Tunisian man kicks woman in the neck

The 54-year-old is deported. His criminal responsibility was reduced by 75 to 85 percent.

The Zurich District Court dealt with a Tunisian who had committed numerous crimes.

Christian Beutler / Keystone

The 54-year-old accused Tunisian was well known in Zurich’s district 4, but it was a kind of notoriety that brought him bans from everywhere. He suffers from a mental illness, which he himself did not want to see for a long time. The indictment is 19 pages long, 107 dossiers were indicted, including two serious violent crimes at VBZ stops, but also countless trespasses due to violations of house bans and sexual harassment of nine women, mainly in restaurants, but also on a tram.

On May 28, 2021, he is said to have kicked a woman in the neck with his hard-soled patent leather shoes at the VBZ tram stop Lochergut. The woman staggered from the kick, but did not fall to the ground. She is said to have been unable to breathe for four to five seconds. The perpetrator risked serious injuries to the neck and head of his victim. After the kick, he is said to have sexually molested her.

Two days later he was lying on the bench at the Zwinglihaus bus stop in District 3. A man walking on a walker came up and asked the accused if he could make some space on the bench for him. The Tunisian got up, grabbed the man and threw him and his walker off the sidewalk onto the street. The victim fell with his head and hands on the asphalt, suffered a laceration over his left eye and abrasions on both hands. According to the indictment, the accused did not care whether his victim could have been injured by an approaching car.

In a third incident, the 54-year-old divorced IV pensioner is said to have kicked a woman in the back on Kalkbreitestrasse. In addition, there were threats and spitting on a passer-by, attempted blackmail and violence and threats against authorities and officials: In a social center, the Tunisian demanded more money and said that otherwise he would do something to the employees and their families, and smashed a plexiglass pane off the counter. He was incarcerated from November 2020 to March 2021 and then again after the violent crimes since June 2021.

The accused does not want to go back to Tunisia

The psychiatric report confirmed that he had a schizoaffective disorder. His culpability was severely reduced for most offenses – between 75 and 85 percent – or in individual cases completely abolished. In addition to imprisonment, the public prosecutor is requesting an inpatient measure.

The presiding judge, Sebastian Aeppli, asked the accused whether he agreed. An outpatient measure would be great, he replies. He wanted to have a little more fun with his current partner. This is not possible with an inpatient measure.

A country expulsion is also under discussion. The perpetrator’s mother, siblings and half-siblings live in Tunisia. The accused, who has lived in Switzerland since 1985 and has been receiving an IV pension since 2003, does not understand this request at all: “Tunisia is currently almost on the brink of civil war,” he explains. He has no contact with the half-siblings: “We don’t fit together.” He doesn’t go to Tunisia, “I can’t live with the people there”.

He completely denies the attack on the woman at Lochergut. He never goes to Lochergut. At the Zwinglihaus, the other drunk man attacked him. “I only did reflex,” he asserts. He never threatened anyone else, he never spat on anyone, and he didn’t go to the bars where he was banned. He didn’t sexually harass anyone. “Am I a dog?” he asks rhetorically. He feels 100 percent innocent.

Previously in psychiatric therapy

According to the prosecutor’s plea, it was just luck and coincidence that no one was seriously injured in the violent crime. However, his crimes are related to the mental disorder. From 2011 to 2014 he was in an inpatient measure. In a protected setting with the intake of medication, his condition improves in a short time. In addition to the measure, the prosecutor is requesting a prison sentence of 36 months, a fine of 2,000 francs and expulsion from the country for 7 years.

The defense pleads for a full acquittal and satisfaction for the 552 days of imprisonment so far. A country expulsion should be refrained from. Only in Switzerland could the accused receive treatment that would enable him to lead a reasonably normal life. Deportation would put him in a precarious, possibly even life-threatening situation. Switzerland should not shirk its responsibilities. The mental illness makes the man a serious personal hardship.

The accused suffers from delusions, has a distorted perception of reality, is convinced that he is innocent and did not commit the crimes. His conviction is genuine, he is not guilty and must be acquitted. Where he was awarded criminal responsibility in the report, it was a “complete misjudgment of the actual circumstances”. The sexual harassment was also related to his mental illness.

Country expulsion for 6 years

The district court convicted the accused of multiple attempted assault, attempted extortion and numerous other criminal offenses. There are also acquittals, he has committed a few offenses in a state of incapacity that was not his fault. The 54-year-old Tunisian is sentenced to an enforceable prison term of 24 months and a fine of 1,000 francs. An inpatient measure is ordered and he is then expelled from the country for 6 years. He remains in preventive custody until the start of the measure.

The court president Sebastian Aeppli justified the main crimes, the statements about the kick against the neck of the victim are credible and there were three witnesses to the incident with the walker. Due to the severe limitation of his criminal responsibility, the sentence was reduced by around 80 percent. For the incident with the walker alone, the penalty should actually be 48 months. Regarding the expulsion from the country, Aeppli explains that the federal court is strict, even in the case of perpetrators with mental disorders. There is a social assistance agreement with Tunisia. The accused can also obtain his IV there.

Judgment DG220050 of September 28, 2022, not yet final.

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