Barbie 'under no one's control'
Pretoria - Former advocate Cézanne Visser, also known as "Advocate Barbie", was not under anyone's power or control when she participated in the sexual abuse of young girls and women, a high court judge ruled in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Acting Judge Chris Eksteen convicted Visser on 11 charges of defrauding a children's home, soliciting a 15-year-old girl to commit indecent acts, indecently assaulting girls aged 11 and 14, indecently assaulting two young adult women, being a beneficiary to the indecent assault of another young woman, as well as the manufacturing and possession of child pornography.
The Judge rejected Visser's defence that she was a "battered woman" who "had no will of her own" because of her former lover, Dirk Prinsloo's coercive control.
"Prinsloo probably strived to eventually dominate her, but there's no indication that she was totally under his power and control during the commission of the crimes."
The diagnosis [of a clinical psychologist] that she suffered from battered woman syndrome was mainly based on what she and her mother told the psychologist, without reference to the background of the charges.
"There's no basis for a finding that during the commission of the crimes her ability to distinguish between right and wrong had been so diluted as she and her mother made out to the court.
"It can not in any manner be regarded as grounds for justification [of her actions]," he said.
The Judge referred to numerous discrepancies in Visser's evidence and said he was particularly struck by Visser's tendency to give others, such as her father and Prinsloo, the blame for her actions.
He said it would be interesting to hear what Prinsloo had to say about all of the accusations against him.
He also repeatedly referred to the evidence of Prinsloo's former personal assistant, Laurie Pieters, who testified that Visser had repeatedly told her that sex with Prinsloo was amazing, that he gave her what no other man could and that she loved him.
"The court finds that the accused now wants to hide behind Prinsloo's activities for convenience sake to justify her own conduct and deeds.
"It cannot be said that she had been incapable of making her own decisions and acted involuntarily.
"...She was fully aware of Prinsloo's liberal views about sex and had reconciled herself with it. She enjoyed being made over by him to become an international idol.
'It's not me, it's him'
"Her fear for him only manifested after their arrest. She already started trimming her sails to the wind in the police cells when she indicated that Prinsloo had manipulated her.
"She was probably fully aware of the unlawfulness of their actions. Her attitude is so typical of people - it's not me, it's him," the Judge added.
Judge Eksteen found that Visser had been aware of and had reconciled herself with and actively participated in Prinsloo's sexual preferences and activities after moving in with him.
She had gone along with enlarging her breasts and getting intimate tattoos and piercings because she wanted to become an international model, he said.
"She had pretended to children's homes that she was a married woman and wanted to help children. She took the initiative to approach children's homes to get young girls for sexual abuse.
"...Her conduct and that of Prinsloo were aimed throughout at sexually abusing children and women for the gratification of their own sexual preferences.
"She had rejected all help and chances to get away from Prinsloo," he said.
The Judge found that Visser had, amongst others, exposed herself to children, offered to have a child's private parts waxed and pierced, demonstrated oral sex and a vibrator to children and had sex with Prinsloo in front of some of the six victims with the purpose of enticing them to commit indecent acts.
She had also personally indecently assaulted one of the children and two of the women and lied under oath about a third woman, who was forced to have oral sex with Prinsloo.
She had also posed naked for photos with two unknown young black girls while committing explicit sexual acts with the children. As a trained advocate, she must have known that at least one of the children was visibly very young.
The atmosphere in her and Prinsloo's house, the presence of pornography and sex toys and the sexual elements of their whole line of conduct had been aimed at creating the type of atmosphere to entice victims, the Judge concluded.
Date rape drugs
He said Visser had been well aware that Prinsloo used so-called date rape drugs to sexually abuse women, children and even her own mother, had participated in these actions and had reconciled herself with it by taking young victims and children to their house, where they fell prey to Prinsloo's sexual abuse.
Pieters afterwards told reporters she was satisfied that Visser got what she deserved, because it was "disgusting" how young some of her victims were.
She felt Visser should be sent to jail for her actions.
Visser's mother, Susan, took her to the bathroom after the judgment, from where she emerged with red eyes some time later.
She was flanked by her legal representative, her mother and stepfather when she left court, but did not want to talk to any of the reporters and photographers who pursued her down the road.
Sentencing proceedings will commence on December 8.