Glasgow & West Scotland

Crown urges insanity verdict for Michael Davis killer

Michael Davis
Image caption Mr Davis was stabbed as he walked from one cleaning job to another

A prosecutor has urged a jury to find a teenager who stabbed a young cleaner to death in Glasgow not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

The High Court in Glasgow has heard that 19-year-old Tianhui Zhan killed Michael Davis, 21, by stabbing him three times last October.

Mr Zhan denies murdering him and has lodged a special defence of insanity.

Derek Ogg QC said it would be "wrong, unjust and unethical" to suggest that Mr Zhan knew what he was doing.

The trial has heard that Mr Zhan, who had travelled to Scotland from his home in Canada, attacked Mr Davis as he walked along the city's West Campbell Street chatting on his mobile phone.

The jury has been asked to decide if Mr Zhan deliberately targeted and killed Mr Davis or if he was insane at the time.

In his closing speech, the advocate depute said: "This isn't the Soviet Union where a person can be thrown into a psychiatric unit and lost there forever.

"We are a democracy. It is proper there is an open hearing and that you, the citizens, supervise it. You have to decide it according to the evidence in the case."

Mr Ogg told the jury that Mr Zhan could not be held guilty of murder if he was mentally ill and "thought he was killing a zombie".

He added: "It would not be proper for me to pretend to you you could find him guilty of murder.

"It would be wrong, unjust and unethical to suggest that he knew what he was doing.

"The medical evidence shows this man is devastatingly mentally ill and will remain so."

The prosecutor told the jury that the Crown asked them to return of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

He said: "That is not a verdict of not guilty. It is just another way of saying guilty but insane. If Mr Zhan had been sane on the day of this incident he would have been found guilty of murder.

"He must not be answerable for this attack as a criminal would be."

Defence QC Brian McConnachie said in his closing speech that from the moment Mr Zhan began to receive the appropriate treatment there had been no dispute by him that he was responsible for the death of Mr Davis.

He said: "What we have to do is ensure that he is adequately treated and in a position where there is no harm to himself or the public.

"He is in a maximum secure unit. He is there not to be punished. He is there to be treated.

"He committed this horrific violent attack because of his mental illness and only because of his mental illness."

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on Wednesday.

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