Kotzé's co-accused to call witnesses

2013-07-03 21:11
Johan Kotzé (Picture: Sapa)

Johan Kotzé (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - The trial of so-called "Modimolle monster" Johan Kotzé was postponed by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Judge Bert Bam ruled the matter should stand down until Thursday morning to allow the defence for two of Kotzé's co-accused to finalise their witnesses.

On Wednesday afternoon, the cross-examination of a clinical psychologist, who testified about Kotzé's mental state, was concluded.

Cobus Coetzee told the court he did not agree that Kotzé was in a dissociative state when he allegedly attacked his wife and her son.

"No, I do not believe he was dissociative at any time," he told the court.

He said he did not agree with defence psychologist Tertia Spangenberg that Kotzé could not be held accountable for his actions because he was in a non-pathological dissociative state at the time.

Kotzé, Andries Sithole, Pieta Mohlake, and Sello Mphaka have pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, assaulting, raping, and attempting to murder Kotzé's ex-wife Ina Bonnette, and murdering her 19-year-old son Conrad in Kotzé's home in Modimolle on 3 January 2012.

The State alleges Kotzé orchestrated the revenge attack on Bonnette and her son.

Bonnette testified that Kotzé sexually tortured her and cut off her nipples before telling the others to rape her while she lay tied to a bed. She was forced to listen to her son pleading for his life before Kotzé shot him dead.

A hazy recollection

Although Kotzé could recall in detail the events before and after the crimes, he was hazy about what happened during the crimes.

He claimed he begged the others not to hurt Bonnette. He said he could remember handling the murder weapon, but could not remember pulling the trigger.

Spangenberg, who assessed Kotzé for two months, diagnosed him as suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder, major depression, and acute stress disorder.

She said this had led to Kotzé entering a state of non-pathological dissociation, in which he was unable to control himself.

Coetzee and three psychiatrists evaluated Kotzé at the Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria for two months. The panel concluded that Kotzé did not suffer from any mental disorder and was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his actions and acting accordingly.

On Wednesday, Coetzee testified that Kotzé did not suffer from any pathological conditions. While he might have narcissistic traits, he did not suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder.

Coetzee could find no proof of major depression at the time of the crimes.

He said classic signs of depression included a depressed mood, suicide attempts, and withdrawal from society, which was not the case with Kotzé.

"Episodes of a depressed mood do not mean there is major depression that is so severe that it could affect criminal responsibility," he said.

Coetzee said Kotzé did not meet the criteria for acute stress disorder.

Dissociative state

It was also unlikely that Kotzé would have been in a dissociative state for a long period, or that he would have experienced mini-episodes of dissociation without an underlying cause, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Kotzé's conduct before, during, and after the attack pointed to someone able to plan and act rationally, Coetzee said.

He conceded that certain parts of Kotzé's conduct did not make sense, but this did not mean he could not be held accountable.

During cross-examination by Piet Greyling, for Kotzé, Coetzee said there were no indications Kotzé had acted in a similar violent or aggressive way prior to the attack.

Greyling asked Coetzee why, when he found narcissistic traits and signs of depression, he did not follow them up.

"I did not investigate further than I felt was necessary," Coetzee said.

Greyling put it to him that the reason his report varied from Spangenberg's was because she followed up on these signs and therefore investigated them more thoroughly.

"I differ from that statement your honour," Coetzee said.

"I investigated as thoroughly as I could."

He said he spent many hours assessing Kotzé and also spent many hours in court during Kotzé's testimony.

"[Kotzé] came across very much the same [during the assessment as he had in court]."

Read more on:    johan kotze  |  ina bonnette  |  andries sithole

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