Doctors to observe rape accused

2010-11-30 00:00

A 26-YEAR-OLD man who is charged with housebreaking and rape of two older women — one of whom is disabled — at St Faiths near Ixopo, is to undergo a further period of mental observation because the psychiatrists who examined him on different occasions are divided as to whether or not he is fit to stand trial.

Judge Sharmaine Balton and assessors heard evidence from three psychiatrists, two of whom expressed the view that Bhekisisa Erick Cele is able to appreciate the nature of the charges facing him and that he is fit to stand trial. They found no evidence that Cele is mentally ill, although the court was told he suffers from epileptic seizures for which he is receiving medication.

Specialist pyschiatrist Dr S. Moodley disagreed with his colleagues. He said when he initially examined Cele at the Midlands Hospital complex on two occasions he did not display any abnormal behaviour, but during two subsequent interviews he showed signs of paranoia and hallucinations indicative of “atypical psychosis”. In these circumstances his view was that Cele is not fit to stand trial.

“He started displaying paranoid thoughts … He even accused me of collaborating with the police to keep him behind bars,” he said. Cele also reported hearing “voices” of people who were not there.

In reply to questions by state advocate Irene Neyt, Moodley said it is “possible” that Cele could be malingering or faking his symptoms, but the only way to determine this is if he undergoes further observation under more ideal conditions.

As a serving prisoner at the time of his observation, Cele could not be admitted to a ward where he would be under 24-hour observation by trained staff. The court was told that the situation had now changed, as Cele has completed his sentence and could be kept in hospital for further observation.

Judge Balton said due to the different opinions expressed by the psychiatrists it was in the interests of justice for Cele to undergo further observation. The case was postponed to today to finalise the arrangements.

Cele is charged with breaking into the home of a 56-year-old woman at St Faiths on March 28, 2007. He allegedly raped her and took money and other valuables .

On April 5,2008, the state alleges he broke into the home of a 52-year-old disabled woman, again by breaking a window, and raped her after robbing her of R270, a cellphone and other items.

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