Jamaican Hijacker declared fit to stand trial

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A man who hijacked a Canadian plane full of tourists and held them hostage for several hours in Jamaica in April was Tuesday declared mentally fit to stand trial on more than 20 charges.

Stephen Fray, 21, appeared in the Montego Bay magistrates court with his father, Earl, who is also facing a criminal charge of negligence for allowing his gun to be stolen and used in the April 19 hijacking.

Reports prepared by two psychiatrists read out in court on Tuesday said Fray was fit to stand trial, but spoke of him as a “paranoid schizophrenic” with “delusions.”

Jamaican police eventually stormed the hijacked CanJet airliner and captured Fray without firing a shot, ending a harrowing airport standoff in which 182 people, including eight crew, were taken hostage.

George Thomas, one of the two attorneys representing Fray, said that in another report his client was said to have “false beliefs that persons above were watching over him which were not based in reality.”
Thomas also requested that Fray, who he said has been on medication since April, be placed in an institution to receive treatment.

But acting senior magistrate Vivienne Harris refused the request and ordered that Fray be remanded in police custody until July 13.

No trial date was set as prosecutor Jackie Cummings asked the court for more time to prepare the case.

Fray is facing 24 charges including nine counts of illegal possession of a firearm, eight counts of assault, two counts of illegal possession of ammunition and one count each of shooting with intent and robbery with aggravation.

Fray allegedly forced his way past security guards at the airport and onto the CanJet flight, armed with a .38 revolver, and demanded money and valuables. He is also reported to have demanded to be flown to neighboring Cuba.

He was disarmed after an eight-hour stand-off with local security forces. None of the passengers on board the aircraft, which was headed for Cuba en route to Canada, were hurt in the ordeal.

Meanwhile, Fray’s father has pleaded not guilty to negligence and his trial will start on September 14.

Source (AFP)

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