Girl’s alleged killer ‘wasn’t mentally ill’

2016-09-23 08:00
Psychiatrist not convinced by accused's claim.

Psychiatrist not convinced by accused's claim. (File)

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A specialist psychiatrist told a high court judge on Thursday he does not believe the alleged killer of 12-year-old Ayanda Sibiya of Pietermaritzburg was mentally ill at the time of the offence.

Dr Bertram Brayshaw is a member of a panel of three pyschiatrists observing the evidence unfolding in the trial of Mzokhona Sibisi (34).

Sibisi has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually violated Ayanda in a forest in Sweetwaters in 2012, stabbed her and beat her to death with a pickaxe handle and then hid her body in a water tank on the premises of the church where he worshipped.

Sibisi has denied knowledge of Ayanda’s death and also said he cannot explain how DNA from his semen came to be found on her private parts.

However, he has suggested that if the court finds he did kill the child he must have been possessed by “evil spirits”.

He testified he had a “bad dream” the night Ayanda disappeared in which he heard the voice of her mother telling him that she had to be dead before she could be thrown into a water tank.

He claims the “voice” also offered him something to drink for “bravery” after which he “appeared to hit Ayanda with a stick as per her mother’s instructions”.

Sibisi confirmed in his evidence that when he woke up that morning he found his feet were “dirty” and wet and there was mud on his trousers.

He said he found Ayanda’s body in the tank by “following” his dream.

He then deceived her family into thinking an inyanga told him where to look for the body.

Brayshaw yesterday told Judge Piet Bezuidenhout in his opinion this was a “well thought-out and plausible explanation” as to how Sibisi had discovered the body in order to throw suspicion off him.

“It seems to have been quite a well thought-out ploy,” he said.

Brayshaw said he examined Sibisi while he was undergoing observation at Fort Napier hospital in 2014. At that stage he had concluded Sibisi could understand court proceedings, but stated in his report that he could not decide if he was mentally ill at the time of the alleged crimes without more evidence.

However, he said after listening to the testimony of Ayanda’s family members and Sibisi’s, he was of the view that he is “not telling the truth”.

He said in his opinion Sibisi was not mentally ill at the time of the alleged offences.

Brayshaw said he was “not convinced” that Sibisi’s claims that he acted under the influence of “auditory hallucinations” was genuine.

He said Sibisi had told him that he started hearing “voices of evil spirits” in 2011 which instructed him to perform acts that were “distasteful and unacceptable”. But he was “vague and evasive” about details.

Brayshaw said normally people affected by distressing hallucinations like those described by Sibisi would be in “turmoil”. Their lives would be dominated by what was happening to them, which was frightening.

Yet people did not observe this in Sibisi’s case, and Sibisi himself had said he functioned normally.

Brayshaw also said he had not been able to find a “trigger” for Sibisi’s alleged hallucinations such as a personal tragedy in his life.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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