LAWYERS for a man charged with killing a police officer while cuffed in custody say he is unfit to stand trial.
Prosecutors insist Louis de Zoysa should face justice ahead of a three-day fitness-to-plead hearing starting tomorrow.
Lawyers for Louis de Zoysa, who is charged with killing a police officer while cuffed in custody, say he is unfit to stand trial
Sergeant Matt Ratana died after being shot during a search at Croydon Custody CentreCredit: PA
But defence lawyers will say he is not of sound mind due to brain injuries he suffered after the shooting at Croydon custody centre, South London.
De Zoysa, now 25, was shot in the neck during the incident which took place while he was being processed.
He is accused of hiding a gun in his trousers, which officers missed when they arrested him for possession of modified ammo and cannabis.
The Revenue & Customs analyst was walking alone when stopped at 1.15am on September 25, 2020.
Officers drove him to the centre and the shooting is said to have happened as custody sergeant Matt Ratana searched him at 2am.
Sgt Ratana, 54, died two hours later in hospital. He was weeks from retiring.
Detectives could not interview de Zoysa because the day after the shooting he had a stroke that paralysed his right side.
He was operated on to relieve pressure on his brain and was in a coma.
De Zoysa, who is autistic, has spent two years in a secure hospital.
Sources say he is partly mobile and communicates using words and a whiteboard.
Prosecutors will argue he is capable of understanding the case — so can give evidence.
Defence experts are expected to say he is too impaired even to enter a plea.
Mr Justice Baker will decide at Northampton crown court.
A full trial, which could lead to a life sentence, would likely take place next year.
But if he is ruled unfit, a jury would be asked to decide how the police officer was killed — and a hospital order may be imposed on de Zoysa.