Murder accused asks court for exorcists

2016-09-15 09:43
The advocate defending the man charged with murdering 12-year-old Ayanda Sibiya, suggests that a panel of psychiatrists will not assist his client as he was possessed by evil spirits.

The advocate defending the man charged with murdering 12-year-old Ayanda Sibiya, suggests that a panel of psychiatrists will not assist his client as he was possessed by evil spirits. (File)

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The advocate defending the man charged with murdering Ayanda Sibiya (12) in 2012 has suggested that a panel of psychiatrists will not be able to assess if his client was possessed by evil spirits at the time of the incident.

Advocate Philemon Ndlela on Wednesday applied to Judge Piet Bezuidenhout to appoint assessors who are “qualified in the realm of Satanism and evil spirits” to preside alongside the judge in the case.

He said this is because his client’s defence concerns the “effects of evil spirits and Satanism”, and not whether he is suffering from mental illness or is in some way mad. “With due respect to the [panel] of psychiatrists sitting in court, I don’t think they are really qualified in this realm,” he said.

State advocate Dheelan Naidoo and the judge, however, suggested that if the defence wants the court to find that the accused was possessed by evil spirits that caused him to commit crimes, they will have to lead expert evidence in that regard,

After taking time to consider the application, Judge Bezuidenhout said he cannot appoint assessors once the case has started, as this would amount to an irregularity, and ordered the trial to continue without assessors.

Mzokhona Sibisi (34) has pleaded not guilty to sexually violating and murdering Ayanda by beating her to death with the handle of a pick-axe.

The state alleges the girl was covered with a refuse bag and beaten to death in a forest near her home. Afterwards her body was placed in a water tank on the church premises where Sibisi worshipped.

In his plea, Sibisi told the court that he had a “bad dream” about killing Ayanda the night she disappeared. He said he subsequently found her body in the water tank as a result of “following” the events he recalled from his dream. However, because he was afraid people would blame him for her death, he had pretended to her father that an nyanga had told him that the body was in the tank.

Sibisi denied killing Ayanda, suggesting that if he had attacked her, he might have been possessed at the time by evil spirits for which he had been treating her through prayer at the time.

Ayanda’s mother, Ntombenhle Sibiya, confirmed in her testimony that her daughter suffered from “fits” from the age of 10. She said the family only believed in traditional healing.

Ayanda’s grandmother, Gladys Sibiya, told the court that Sibisi had taken her to a forest “to look for Ayanda” sometime after her disappearance. They found her bloodied hat. Some days later he told the family a prophet had said they should look for Ayanda at the church, where her body was subsequently recovered from a water tank.

The case is continuing.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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