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Daily Record
Daily Record
Alan McEwen

Scots psychiatrists refuse to assess mental health of US fugitive Nicholas Rossi

Lawyers for US fugitive Nicholas Rossi said no psychiatrist in Scotland was willing to assess his mental health.

Ross, 35, who is fighting a bid to return him to the United States to face charges including rape, appeared via prison video link at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday.

Solicitor Stuart Murray, acting for Rossi, said his legal team blamed the “media circus” surrounding Rossi for Scots psychiatrists refusing to assist the defence.

Mr Murray said they had to turn to England to find a psychiatrist to agree to compile a report on his client.

The court also heard Rossi is not facing charges over allegations he assaulted a security guard in the court building before a hearing last month.

Sheriff Norman McFadyen gave the defence until May 30 to submit reports in Rossi’s defence before next month’s extradition hearing.

Rossi appeared on a video link from the city’s Saughton Prison after the previous hearing was disrupted by allegations he’d attacked a guard.

The hearing on Monday has been set for the court to be updated on the progress of specialist reports by experts on Rossi’s behalf.

Mr Murray said an English-based psychiatrist would take another week to submit his report after assessing Rossi over a video link.

He said the defence “could not find a psychiatrist willing to carry out an assessment in Scotland”.

The solicitor added: “The media circus appears to have had an impact on who is willing to take instructions from us.”

Mr Murray said the defence had a report from an expert on prison conditions that Rossi would likely face in the US.

He said a GP instructed to assess Rossi’s physical health and mobility had twice visited the jail and failed to meet with Rossi.

The court was told prison bosses informed the GP that Rossi didn’t want to meet him, which Mr Murray said his client “vehemently denies”.

Sheriff McFadyen asked advocate depute Paul Harvey if Rossi had any outstanding proceedings active in Scotland following the alleged assault on the guard.

Mr Harvey confirmed Rossi was not facing any charges over the alleged incident.

The sheriff said he’d also received an application by Rossi to address the court personally over his “difficulties” in prison.

He said he was “not clear” such a request was legally “competent” and Mr Murray said he was only made aware of his client’s application that morning.

Mr Murray added: “I do not forward it before the court.”

Sheriff McFadyen said the delay in the reports made the situation “far from ideal”, but set a further hearing for May 31 to ensure the material was available.

The extradition hearing remains set for June 26.

Rossi was arrested at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in December 2021 while receiving treatment for Covid-19. He was detained on the original extradition warrant over an alleged 2008 rape in Utah.

During an extradition hearing in November, Sheriff McFadyen blasted Rossi’s claims to be an innocent Irishman called Arthur Knight in his ruling on Rossi’s identity.

He called Rossi’s allegation he was tattooed while in a coma in the Glasgow hospital to frame him as “implausible and fanciful”.

The sheriff said Rossi’s “highly suspicious” change of names in recent years was “consistent with someone who was hiding from someone or something”.

Although the court heard Rossi doesn’t currently face criminal court proceedings in Scotland, a Crown Office spokesman said: “Three reports have been received concerning a 35-year-old man and are under consideration by the Procurator Fiscal.”

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