Psych report on bomb maker 'biased'

2013-02-05 20:18
Kobus Pretorius (Picture: Beeld)

Kobus Pretorius (Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria - The State has dismissed as one-sided and biased a psychologist's pre-sentencing report on one of the Boeremag treason accused.

Dr Elsabe Steenkamp, an educational and counselling psychologist, started testifying last week in mitigation of sentencing of Kobus Pretorius, who is one of the 20 accused.

She was of the opinion that the impressionable, self-confessed master bomb maker had grown up with radical white supremacist ideals and been "raised to become a terrorist".

Steenkamp said Pretorius was now a changed man who had sworn off his family and their radical ideals, and that further incarceration would serve no rehabilitative purpose.

Prosecutor Dries van Rensburg put it to Steenkamp that the State would argue that her report had little of no value.

This was because she had inadequate background about the case, her sources were unreliable, she had worked selectively and was not objective.

She also did not have the qualifications to make some of her findings, he said.

Steenkamp admitted not studying the court record, and not consulting with the investigating officer or even reading the judgment before writing her report.

She said she had accepted that Pretorius was guilty and that her brief had been to evaluate Pretorius as a person.

Although she previously consulted with some of Pretorius' religious workers, Steenkamp said she had focused on his "new mother" Sonia Jordaan, and had made no mention of the others in her report.

Van Rensburg said the report would have been of more value if Steenkamp had tied it in with the evidence in the trial.

Pretorius, his father Dr Lets Pretorius and brothers Johan and Wilhelm are among 20 accused who were convicted of high treason last year.

The Boeremag bomb squad, which consisted of the Pretorius men and brothers Rudi Gouws and Herman van Rooyen, were also convicted of negligently causing the death of Soweto mother Claudia Mokone in a bomb explosion and conspiring to murder former President Nelson Mandela with a home-made bomb.

Hercules Booysen, for some of the accused, also criticised Steenkamp's report.

He said Steenkamp had failed to take into account the historical reasons for rebellion and group dynamics.

He put it to Steenkamp that not everyone who committed high treason hated other races or could be described as fanatical.

Steenkamp said her information that the top leaders of the Boeremag were racist came from Pretorius.

She admitted that fanaticism was in the eye of the beholder, and that some people's heroes were regarded as criminals by others.

The trial continues.


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