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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 09:32 GMT
Gibson stalker 'on God's mission'
Mel Gibson
Film-maker Gibson is expected to give evidence on Thursday
A man accused of stalking actor Mel Gibson believed he was on a mission from God, a court has heard.

Prosecutors allege Zack Sinclair, 34, evaded security guards and defied a restraining order because he wanted film-maker Gibson to pray with him.

"Mr Sinclair believes he is being told by God to pray with Mr Gibson," said deputy district attorney Debra Archuleta on the trial's opening day.

Mr Gibson is expected to give evidence in the case on Thursday.

Mr Sinclair is alleged to have begun writing to the actor in July 2004 after seeing Mr Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ, about the last 12 hours in Christ's life.

Mr Gibson's security chief, Jerry McKay, told the court the defendant had sent 12 letters to Gibson which said God had sent him to California to pray with the star.

Zach Sinclair
Zach Sinclair, 34, is representing himself in court

Prosecutors also claim Mr Sinclair has a history of mental illness. In his letters, he admitted spending two years in jail in Idaho for stalking a woman, Mr McKay said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Mark Winn said when Mr Sinclair was confronted close to Mr Gibson's Malibu home in September 2004 he became "teary-eyed".

"He was kind of in disbelief that he was not allowed to go on with his mission," Mr Winn told the court.

Mr Sinclair is accused of approaching Mr Gibson's home within 24 hours of a three-year restraining order being imposed.

The Idaho man, representing himself in court, has already declared he would not be questioning any witnesses because the burden of proof was going to be "too heavy" for prosecutors.

"I would just admonish you to vote your conscience," he said in a brief opening statement to the jury in Los Angeles.

Mr Sinclair is charged with stalking. If convicted, he faces up to 16 months in prison.

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