The judge presiding over the murder trial of Norwegian man Joshua French has delayed handing down his verdict again, this time until Monday. Both French’s defense team and the prosecutor wanted the judgement to be given during Friday’s sitting, but Judge Serge Kabondo said Norwegian and Congolese doctors needed to discuss a report on French’s health first.
French’s lawyer Marie-André Mwila argued the judgment could be delivered, regardless of any decision about whether French needed hospital treatment or not. “For once the defense and I are on the same wavelength,” prosecutor Katende Nkulu agreed, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Judge Kabondo decided French’s health condition should be considered together with the judgement. He said French’s condition was so serious it could influence the court’s decision. “The court will hear the doctors so the decision is taken with full responsibility,” he said. Kabondo required two Norwegian doctors to speak with three Congolese doctors, and said no decision could be made until that was done.
French’s health condition has already delayed the trial several times since it began last month, most recently on Tuesday. His Norwegian lawyer, Hans Marius Graasvold feared the delays put extra pressure on French, who’s suffering from a stress-related illness. Mwila asked for French to be transferred to hospital but Nkulu argued an escape plot was afoot, after a UK passport was found in the Norwegian-British man’s belongings.
French is on trial for murdering his cellmate, Norwegian Tjostolv Moland, who was found dead last August. The two men had been sentenced to death for murdering their driver, a charge both denied.