DJ suffering from depression - psychologist

2015-08-26 18:45
Donald Sebolai (Facebook)

Donald Sebolai (Facebook)

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Johannesburg - The former Jozi FM DJ accused of murdering his girlfriend showed signs of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Wednesday. 

This was according to psychologist, Professor Sathasivan Cooper, who had several sessions with Donald Sebolai just a few days before the trial started last month.  

"During the course of the evaluation, a clinical image started to be clear of someone who had depression and receding symptoms of post-traumatic stress," said Cooper. 

He told the court that he had three sessions with Sebolai prior to the trial and needed approximately 90 days to give a definite diagnosis for the post-traumatic disorder.

Cooper had consulted with Sebolai's sister as well as his former boss and had concluded that Sebolai was only a shadow of the fairly carefree individual he was before.

"The person I evaluated was physically quite hunched. His demeanour was not of a person facing a microphone making chit chat with his listeners." 

Sebolai is on trial for murdering his girlfriend Dolly Tshabalala. She was found dead in his flat in Soweto in June last year.

She had a deep stab wound from her pubic area to her thigh, which punctured an artery. The former University of Witwatersrand receptionist bled to death.

Stabbed in a struggle

Sebolai has testified that he did not kill Tshabalala. He claimed she was stabbed as they struggled over a knife. He said she had used the knife to stab him and accused him of cheating. 

Cooper's testimony has thus far verified Sebolai's claims.

He noted that Sebolai answered all the questions posed to him without hesitation. 

"There were certain questions that emerged where he interrupted himself but in the main, there were fairly straightforward responses without an opportunity to [think of a version]," said Cooper.

Cooper, who handed a 28-page CV to the court detailing his 30 years of experience in psychology, said he had learnt to be sceptical of what he hears from his patients. 

He said Sebolai most probably went into a state of shock when he realised that Tshabalala had died. 

"He was in a clear state of panic. I think what most people would have done is call for help but the state of confusion that he was in caused him to go into flight," said Cooper. 

During his cross-examination, Sebolai said he had planned to take Tshabalala to the hospital after he had finished mopping up her blood from the floor, but he returned to the bedroom and found her dead. 

Reading from his notes, Cooper said Sebolai told him: "I saw the white part of her eyes. I did not know what to do. I thought it was just a dream". 

Arrested a week later

Sebolai disappeared after Tshabalala's killing and was arrested more than a week later. He has testified that he spent those days wandering the streets of Soweto. 

"So there is also a daze for the number of days where he cannot account for where he was. He has blocked out certain memories," said Cooper, adding that such incidents were caused by trauma. 

Cooper only testified late on Wednesday afternoon after the State opposed the professor being called to the stand. 

Prosecutor Eliza le Roux said Cooper's evidence would have no direct impact on the trial especially because Sebolai himself had testified about what frame of mind he was in when the incident unfolded. 

After hearing arguments from both the State and the prosecutor, Judge Cassim Moosa said it would be in the interest of justice to call whatever witness Sebolai thought was important in proving his case. 

Cooper was expected back on the stand on Thursday where he would continue giving evidence.

Read more on:    donald sebolai  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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