A MAN convicted of attempted murder could have been suffering from psychosis induced by khat.
Abdi Araye was also convicted of witness intimidation after a six-day trial at Harrow Crown Court in December.
Araye, of Cornelia Drive, Hayes, was charged after a stabbing in Warley Road, Hayes, on June 23. At the time, he was on bail for another knife attack the previous month in Yeading Lane.
But after being taken into custody, he did not co-operate with mental health workers and his state of mind was not a major consideration during his trial.
An independent psychiatric assessment ordered by his defence counsel indicated that he could have been suffering from drug induced psychosis, as he had been drinking heavily and using the herbal high khat around the time of the offences.
Khat is a plant that, when chewed, releases a stimulant with similar effects to amphetamine. It is grown in, and primarily enjoyed by, people from the Horn of Africa.
Hillingdon Council is leading the way in looking into the social and psychological effects of the drug, which is legal in this country.
The 24 year-old, who is now on a course of anti-psychotic drugs and accepting treatment, was due to be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday, January 27.
Members of his family were present for the hearing, but Judge Alan Greenwood requested a definitive and up-to-date expert opinion from prison psychiatrists, as well as an addendum to the defences report about how the court should deal with him, and whether he should be detained under mental health laws.
Judge Greenwood said: "My decision will affect your life for year's to come, and I need the best information possible so I can dispose of this case properly.
"I see there is a change in attitude, and it is in your interest to keep engaging with mental health professionals.
"The offences you (Araye) are being sentenced for normally result in imprisonment for the publics protection."
Araye is in custody. Sentencing was adjourned until March 12.