State: Griekwastad witness biased

2014-06-04 19:16
Griekwastad murder suspect. (Volksblad)

Griekwastad murder suspect. (Volksblad) ( André Damons)

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Kimberley - A witness testifying for the Griekwastad farm killer was biased and subjective, the Northern Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

"I never thought I would say it as a prosecutor, that I would question an expert's bias," prosecutor Hannes Cloete said during cross-examination of criminologist Dr Eon Sonnekus.

Prosecutor Hannes Cloete submitted that Sonnekus's answers were intended to make the 17-year-old killer look better... "every answer from you", he said.

Sonnekus denied this. He said he knew the court found the boy lied and that he did not believe everything the boy said.

Cloete submitted that Sonnekus's subjective approach did not belong in court.

"I deny that," said Sonnekus.

Northern Cape Judge President Frans Kgomo was listening to evidence in the sentencing procedures of the 17-year-old boy convicted of three murders and rape.

The boy's lawyer, Riaan Bode, called Sonnekus as the first witness for the defence to argue in mitigation of sentencing.

On 27 March, the court found the boy guilty of the murders of Griekwastad farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and their daughter Marthella, 14. They were shot dead on their farm Naauwhoek on 6 April 2012.

The boy was also found guilty on a charge of rape of the girl and lying to the police.

Cloete further questioned Sonnekus's conclusions in his report, where he referred to the boy's showing emotions and crying.

"Crying? It does not always mean remorse. Could it also indicate self regret?" Cloete asked.

Sonnekus agreed.

Cloete and Sonnekus argued about the criminologist's involvement in a police psychiatrist's interview of the boy.

"Your interference with the State's interview did not take place?" asked Cloete.

Sonnekus said: "No, I did not. Major Bronwynn Stollarz said on numerous occasions he [the boy] could stop the interview. He stopped it, but she steamrolled ahead. That was what happened."

Sonnekus had been on a watching brief for the defence at the interview.

After Cloete finished cross-examining Sonnekus, Bode called another specialist forensic psychiatrist, Larissa Panieri-Peters, to testify.

The matter continues.

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