Expert witness Prof. Bauer: „a character witness in the guise of a professor”
Today the court and parties questioned expert witness Prof. Bauer (on his expert opinion see the report of 3 May 2017). What was already clear after his first appearance in court became even more clear today: Bauer’s opinion is not worth the paper it is printed on.
Bauer related that he first visited Zschäpe in his capacity as a physician, only after Zschäpe had told him about alleged violent attacks by Uwe Böhnhardt and he had informed her counsel of these claims had he been tasked with presenting an expert opinion. He was of the firm opinion that he could nonetheless present an objective, neutral opinion – even after being informed that most courts consider an earlier physician-patient relationship, which is after all based on trust and partiality, an obstacle to tasking the same physician with presenting an expert opinion. Continue reading
Final motions for evidence
Today marked the final day of the deadline set by the court for motions for evidence – and several such motions were in deed made.
Zschäpe counsel Grasel moved that the court consider the minutes of the statement Zschäpe’s mother had made to the police. On her first appearance in court, her mother had refused to testify in court and had also withheld her content to the court using her earlier statement. However, after expert witness Bauer had referred to that statement in his opinion, she has now given that consent. As it was not made quite explicit whether she still refuses to testify in person, the court has summoned her as a witness for next week – it does seem likely, though, that she will refuse to testify and only confirm that she consents to her police statement being used. The court has also summoned one of the police officers who had questioned her so that he may introduce that statement. Continue reading
Questions for defense expert Prof. Faustmann
Today the court and parties questioned expert witness Prof. Faustmann, who had been summoned by Zschäpe’s “old” defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm to present a “critique of methodology” of expert witness Prof. Saß.
The central critique presented by Faustmann turned out to be one aspect of Saß’ expert statement which is quite genial in its modesty: Saß stressed that psychiatry is not a natural science and that forensic psychiatry, a science tasked with presenting prognoses in individual cases, can never be free of subjective assessments and the influence of the individual knowledge of the expert witness. According to Saß, therefore, one main quality criterion for forensic psychiatric expert opinions is that they present the material in an accessible manner and that the reader – in this case the court – is able to follow and reconstruct the expert’s arguments. Continue reading