Man who beheaded teen has potential to become a saint – reverend

2016-04-28 18:18
Aljar Swartz in court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Aljar Swartz in court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – The man who beheaded 15-year-old Lee Adams would face a prison sentence for the evil of the crime, but had the potential to turn into a saint, a reverend told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

During sentencing arguments in the case against Aljar Swartz, Methodist Reverend Cecil Begbie said he believed the convicted killer was sincere when he shared with him that he had been possessed by demons.

He also believed the law should be applied with mercy in light of these circumstances, and his recent commitment to Christianity.

"I believe that while he is in prison, he be helped to study further in theology, which he seems to be very interested in, or maybe complete his matric and do further studies," Begbie said from the stand.

"With the correct guidance offered to him, Aljar Swartz has the potential to turn into Saint Paul, as happened with Saul in the Bible," the reverend said.

Premeditated murder

It was his belief that Swartz, 19, might return to society one day and uplift people’s lives, Begbie said.

Swartz was recently found guilty of the premeditated murder of Adams, as well as three counts of incitement to commit murder.

He admitted to beheading the teenager in 2013 so he could sell the body parts to a sangoma.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Carine Theunissen told the reverend that the defence had accepted a report by a psychiatric panel who conducted a 30-day observation of Swartz.

In this report, Swartz denied any involvement in the murder and said he had never acted violently while practising his religion.

Begbie replied that Satan "was a deceiver", and that, "whatever has been said while he [Swartz] was under the influence can have a question mark".

'You are sensationalising this matter'

Judge Elize Steyn said it was her understanding that Swartz had told Begbie what he did and how he did it.

"Why did he not tell the psychiatrists the same thing?" she asked. Begbie said Swartz should answer that question.

Much had recently been made about the role of Satanism and so-called demonic forces in the murder by the defence.

Steyn reprimanded Swart's lawyer, Sheriff Mohamed, quite a few times for going off-track.

At one point, she said: "You are sensationalising this matter. This is not about a case of Satanism. This is about a young gentleman taking the life of another young gentleman. We all know that he says he is a Satanist."

Mohamed stuck to his guns and said: "No my lady. It is to do with the truth."

Begbie was excused from the stand.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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