Defence wants to film killer's prison exorcism

Cape Town – Shortly after Aljar Swartz was convicted on Monday of killing and beheading a Ravensmead teenager, his lawyer asked the Western Cape High Court to facilitate his exorcism.

Lawyer Sheriff Mohamed said it was of great concern that Swartz suffered from "demonic forces".

He asked Judge Elize Steyn to make an order that would facilitate an exorcism at his prison.

Seemingly taken aback, she said: "I have never heard of such an order. I don't know nearly enough [about that] to order such a thing."

An undeterred Mohamed interrupted.

"The defence will take urgent steps to have an exorcism procedure carried out and to have it videoed."

Mohamed told News24 afterwards that he planned to show the video during sentencing arguments.

Swartz was found guilty on Monday of premeditated murder and three counts of incitement to commit murder.

Last month, he admitted to killing 15-year-old Adams so he could sell his body parts to a sangoma.

He admitted to strangling the teenager at an abandoned school on October 17, 2013. He then repeatedly stabbed him until he died.

A security guard found the boy's body at the abandoned school in Ravensmead. The head was later found in a shallow grave in the accused's yard.

Swartz was 17 at the time and the provisions of the Child Justice Act applied.

Mohamed on Monday unsuccessfully tried to reopen his client’s case, to call retired Reverend Cecil Begbie, who had consulted Swartz in prison.

In a supporting affidavit handed up to court, he recommended that he perform an urgent "deliverance" session.

This was after Swartz confided in him about how "demons continued to torture him". He was told how a demon appeared in his cell as a "big, black, long lizard". At other times, it was a demon in his chest which could easily control him.

Begbie said Swartz had told him he accepted responsibility for what happened because it was his own fault he got into Satanism, but that he would never have done something so bad in his right mind or natural state.

Begbie believed "Satan and demonic forces" had used Swartz's body as a vessel to carry out the murder.

The court heard on Monday that Swartz had one previous conviction of robbery from 2011. At the time he was sentenced to three years in jail, wholly suspended on certain conditions.

Swartz would remain in custody until his next appearance on April 28, for the compilation of a pre-sentencing report.

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