"Modimolle monster" trial postponed

By Drum Digital
24 April 2013

The trail of the man dubbed the "Modimolle monster", Johan Kotze, was postponed in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Judge Bert Bam said the matter was scheduled to resume on Monday morning.

Before proceedings concluded on Wednesday the State brought an application to reopen its case.

"The evidence has relation to the accused's accountability during the incident," prosecutor Retha Meintjes said.

Bam would consider the application after receiving an objection from Kotze's defence. His defence team closed its case after cross-examination of clinical psychologist Tertia Spangenberg was completed.

Kotze is accused of mutilating and orchestrating the gang-rape of Ina Bonnette and murdering his stepson Conrad, 19, in his rented home in Modimolle on January 3, 2012. At the time Bonnette was still married to Kotze, but lived in her own flat.

Kotze's co-accused, Andries Sithole, Pieta Mohlane, and Frans Mphaka are accused of kidnapping, assaulting, repeatedly raping, and attempting to murder Bonnette that day.

On Wednesday morning Spangenberg, called by Kotze's defence, told the court Kotze could possibly have altered his testimony concerning his finances.

She said during cross-examination it would be difficult for a narcissist, which she believed Kotze was, to discuss financial problems. She said he would want to keep up his social standing and the way he was perceived.

Francois van As, for two of Kotze's co-accused, asked her if this would have influenced his testimony on his finances.

"It would have influenced his testimony," she said.

At which point Bam asked whether the rest of his testimony could also have been influenced.

Spangenberg said this would not necessarily be the case. She said Kotze's narcissism crumbled when he lost face in public after being accused of murder and assault.

Van As asked whether this meant Kotze was no longer a narcissist.

Spangenberg answered: "No that is not what I meant. He still is one".

On Tuesday and throughout Wednesday morning Spangenberg was cross-examined on differences between her report on Kotze and that of another clinical psychologist.

Spangenberg found he was not accountable for his actions. She found Kotze had a narcissistic personality disorder, major depression, and untreated and unresolved acute stress disorder, which resulted in a state of psychological dissociation during the attack.

She said individuals with his narcissistic disorder were noted for their egotistic self-involvement.

According to her findings, Kotze was obsessed with Bonnette. When he saw her with another man on New Year's Eve 2011 it caused trauma, which led to stress disorder.

In contrast clinical psychologist Dirk Coetzee, who assessed Kotze at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria, found he could be held criminally responsible for his actions. His report was handed in as evidence on Tuesday afternoon.

"At the time of the commission of the offence the accused was criminally responsible for the offence charged, and was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act and could act in accordance with an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act," Coetzee's report read.

Coetzee spent seven-and-a-half hours assessing Kotze at Weskoppies. This was spread over five visits. He described Kotze as co-operative and attentive during interviews.

"At the time of the incident he did not suffer from any clinical psychiatric disorder."

Coetzee said Kotze showed traits of a compulsive personality. Some depressive symptoms were also noted.

On Wednesday the State put it to Spangenberg that she merely referred to the parts in Coetzee's report which supported her own conclusion.

"This is not true," she said, adding there were numerous issues in the report she agreed and disagreed with.

She said there were areas in Coetzee's report she found odd, such as his description of Kotze and his tone of voice as calm during his assessments.

"It was my colleague's evaluation and his findings. It was not my place [to point out my disagreement]."

She said it was equally odd that Coetzee reported Kotze could recall the day of the attack in detail.

Spangenberg said this made her question if the matter was properly dealt with. She explained that Kotze could not recall parts of that day and became emotional when she evaluated him.

"I have my reservations about things which could possibly have been left out."

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