Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2023; 8(3):47-54


Vladimir Velinov1, Georgi Kirilov2

1Retired, forensic expert for Sofia City Court, Medical University – Sofia

2Sofia University “Sv. Kliment Ohridski”

Abstract. The examination of the mental state of witnesses and their trial competences requires a comprehensive assessment, therefore a complex psychiatric and psychological examination is more appropriate than only psychiatric. The ability to perceive, comprehend and reproduce the observed events is an a priori capacity for each individual, but in people with some mental disturbances these capacity may be impaired. It is proposed to introduce a new element in the assessment of witness fitness – making sense of what has been perceived. Especially for the purposes of legal procedures, a dichotomous distinction of mental deviations as quantitatively maladaptive and qualitatively inadequate is proposed. The diagnosis of a mental disorder of any nature is only a prerequisite for seeking a competent assessment of the condition. The syndrome is the main clinical entity which determines the momentary capacity of the individual to witness better than the diagnosis.

Key words: witness capacity, psychiatric diagnosis, leading syndrome

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