Court finds alleged e.TV criminal ‘schizophrenic’

2010-02-11 15:05

THE man alleged to have threatened to “rob and kill” tourists

during the 2010 World Cup is a schizophrenic and will undergo observation, the

Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court found today.

The court heard an affidavit from a physician who examined Evans

Tsietsi Radebe, as well as Radebe himself, that he was a diagnosed

schizophrenic.

“You must go to a psychiatrist to determine whether you are fit to

stand for trial,” said Magistrate Albertus Roux.

“For purposes of an examination you will be sent to Sterkfontein

[mental facility].”

Radebe, through his lawyer Albert Lesang Phiri, objected as he did

not want to be sent to a mental hospital.

“I do not dispute that I am a schizophrenic, but I am disputing

that I have a mental illness,” said Radebe from the witness stand through an

interpreter.

Radebe acknowledged that he had been medicated for the condition

since 2005.

He said he had been on medication before his arrest and was

therefore mentally competent when he allegedly committed the crimes he is

accused of.

Since his arrest, he had not had access to his medication and had

again to suffer symptoms.

Radebe told the court he was kept in a single-person cell and was

unable to sleep at night. He also heard voices.

“When I had those tablets, they suppressed the depression. I

sometimes heard voices of people I could not see.”

Radebe told the court that if he could go back on his medication

then he would be able to follow the trial proceedings.

The request for 30 days of psychiatric observation was made by

prosecutor Mienke Erasmus.

Erasmus asked the court for a one week postponement so the state

could find a bed in a mental hospital for Radebe.

Roux expressed concern that this would unnecessarily delay

proceedings. However, Erasmus said it would be possible to get a bed sooner than

the current months-long waiting list.

She asked for a postponement until next Thursday for the State to

find a spot in the mental hospital for Radebe.

Roux also asked whether Radebe’s case was getting “preferential

treatment” and if this would be unfair to the other patients who were waiting

for beds in the mental hospital.

Erasmus denied Radebe was getting preferential treatment.

“It would be unfair to the other patients, but there might be other

interests,” said Erasmus.

She said that the waiting list for beds in the mental hospital

currently had 180 people on it.

“We’re willing to co-operate, but if we do, it could be nine months

to find a bed,” said Phiri.

Phiri said Radebe became schizophrenic after the death of his wife

and child in the early 2000’s.

A suicide attempt, following this, is what led to his diagnosis as

a schizophrenic.

“I had a child and wife. They were both deceased. I saw it

necessary for me to die and I took some tablets,” said Radebe.

It was while being treated for his suicide attempt that doctors

determined he was a schizophrenic and prescribed medication.

Radebe’s girlfriend, Grace Mbongo, told the court that she had

lived with him for three years and said she neither noticed any
symptoms of his

disease nor saw him taking medication.

Mbongo testified that Radebe had been sjambokked by a police

officer. The blow landed near his ear. She believed that this caused his

schizophrenia.

Radebe later told the court that he had kept his medication a

secret and was planning on telling his girlfriend “when the time was

right”.

In his first court appearance, confusion over his name led to a

delay in proceedings.

The state said Radebe’s name was ‘‘Evans Mdebuka’’. However, he

apparently did not answer to this on the day.

In the dock, he said his name was also ‘‘Tsietsi Radebe’’.

He had two surnames because both his parents, who were not married,

wanted him to carry their names.

Radebe today identified himself to the court as ‘‘Evans Tsietsi

Radebe’’.


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