Man not guilty of assault, by reason of insanity

Man not guilty of assault, by reason of insanity

Ante Brekalo, aged 26, was found to have been not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of assault causing harm to a prison officer three years ago, on March 20, 2018, in Cork Prison. Picture: iStock

A CROATIAN national who feared the fires of hell believed that his only possible portal to safety was through a lift in an art college building in Cork City and, yesterday, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity on an assault charge.

Ante Brekalo, aged 26, was found to have been not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of assault causing harm to a prison officer three years ago, on March 20, 2018, in Cork Prison.

The incident occurred when an officer attempted to give him an injection, after the defendant had injured himself by persistently banging on the walls and door of his cell.

Psychiatric reports for this period indicated that he was suffering from schizophrenia and a mental disorder of a severe nature.

Shane Collins-Daly said the psychiatric reports before the court yesterday, in respect of the prison-assault incident, indicated that the defendant was acutely psychotic and injuring himself at that time.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he was satisfied to find that, at the time of this incident, the accused was not guilty by reason of insanity.

There was another charge against the accused of breaking into the CIT College of Art building on Grand Parade, by the Nano Nagle pedestrian bridge, on April 27, 2020.

Psychiatric reports on the defendant for this period were not available yesterday.

Judge Kelleher said he would deal with that charge in two months.

Addressing the young man directly in Cork District Court, Judge Kelleher asked: “How are you doing?”

Brekalo replied: “Better. Now, I am doing ok.

“I have no trouble sleeping. I live with my mother.”

Mr Collins-Daly said of the defendant during the incidents: “He is not amenable to reason.

“He feels that he will be punished and burn in hell and the only safety is to escape through a portal within the art gallery building.

“He could not resist acting on this delusion.

“Now, he is engaging with community mental health and taking his medication, and abiding by all the directions of the community mental-health team,” Mr Collins-Daly said.

In a similar hearing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, in respect of other break-ins at the art building, Dr Ronan Mullaney’s psychiatric report showed that the defendant suffered from severe schizophrenia, complicated by a history of cannabis use, resulting in bizarre, persecutory feelings.

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