My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Not only was that evidence exhaustively examined and weighed by the trial court but it is clear in the overall picture that the underlined words were in the nature of an understatement. One finds elsewhere in the judgment, when specific issues were resolved in favour of the State, passages in which his evidence was unmistakably said to be rejected as false. Obviously there was much in his evidence that was not only believable standing alone but there were parts that were supported by documentary evidence or circumstance. The real issue on this count is whether it is a reasonable inference (not just a possible inference) that the payments made to Zuma or on his behalf were prompted by friendship, or were just loans, and in neither event made with the criminal intent alleged in the charge. In that regard Shaik’s credibility is crucial. Having deliberated painstakingly, the trial court rejected Shaik’s evidence on that issue and held that the inference referred to was not a reasonable one and could therefore be ruled out.BACK TO TOP