Ex-Scorpions investigator handed 6 years jail term for attempting to rob bank with fake bomb

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Ekhard Albertus Mostert.
Ekhard Albertus Mostert.
Deaan Vivier
  • A former Scorpions investigator who attempted to rob a bank in Pretoria has been sentenced to six years imprisonment. 
  • Despite pleading not guilty, Ekhardt Albertus Mostert made admissions that ultimately led to him being convicted. 
  • His admission proved all the elements of the crime he committed, which led to the State closing its case after calling just one witness. 

After a more than a two-year case with many twists and turns, a former Scorpions investigator who attempted to rob a bank in Pretoria in 2019, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment after making specific admissions which led to a guilty verdict. 

Ekhardt Albertus Mostert was arrested in September 2019 after attempting to rob the ABSA bank in the Menlyn Maine shopping centre.

At the time of the arrest, police said Mostert had disguised himself by wearing a wig and entered the bank with a strange device in his possession. 

He entered the bank at around 11:15 and walked straight to a bank teller, where he handed over a note demanding that he be given money. 

READ | Man who tried to rob Pretoria bank donned a wig, sprinkled fake bomb with gunpowder

Mostert also told bank personnel that the device was a bomb, but it turned out that it wasn't.

First court appearance 

During his first court appearance, Mostert placed it on record that he wanted to defend himself and then, without being asked to, said he wanted to plead guilty.

His attempt to enter a guilty plea was not accepted at the time due to outstanding paperwork.

Mostert initially faced charges of attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances, terrorism and the contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act.

However, the terrorism charges were later withdrawn.

History of psychosis 

Shortly after his arrest and first court appearance, Mostert was examined by a district surgeon.

Ekhard Albertus Mostert pictured in court.

The district surgeon noted that Mostert did not suffer from delusions, amnesia or hallucinations.

READ | Ex-Scorpions investigator fit to stand trial for allegedly robbing bank

However, it was revealed that he suffered from psychosis, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The report also indicated a psychologist and psychiatrist treated him for these disorders. He was subsequently admitted to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital for observation. 

In March 2020, News24 reported that the Weskoppies psychiatric report found that Mostert could be held culpable, was fit to stand trial and would be able to follow proceedings. 

Twists and turns 

Before the case went to trial, Mostert changed legal defence teams a number of times and, at one stage, entered into plea negotiations with the State, which ultimately collapsed.

Despite his willingness to plead guilty during his first court appearance, Mostert ultimately pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances. In his plea explanation, he spoke - without going into detail - about temporary non-pathological criminal incapacity, his intentions and necessity. 

As the trial started earlier this year, Mostert represented himself. 

READ | Ex-Scorpions investigator accused of attempted bank robbery to submit plea and sentence proposal

However, during the cross-examination of the first witness - the bank teller who received his note - Mostert said he wanted to make use of a legal-aid attorney again and would be applying for bail. 

After his unsuccessful bail bid, the trial was meant to continue with the cross-examination of the State’s first witness. 

Surprisingly, instead of continuing with cross-examination, Mostert decided to make admissions in terms of Section 220 of the Criminal Procedure Act. 

Admissions

Mostert admitted that he unlawfully and intentionally attempted to rob the ABSA branch by threatening the bank teller and telling her that he had a bomb.

"I hereby admit that on the day in question, I entered the ABSA bank in Menlyn Maine with a device I manufactured which looked like a bomb," Mostert said. 

"I admit that I attempted to take cash by force by threatening [the bank teller] by telling her that the device is a bomb." 

He further admitted that he was aware that his actions were wrong and punishable by law. 

Mostert effectively admitted guilt by making the admissions which covered all the elements of the offence he committed. 

As a result, the State closed its case, and the court moved to sentencing proceedings. 

Sentencing 

After spending around two-and-a-half years in prison, Mostert was sentenced to six years imprisonment, of which three years was suspended for five years on the condition that Mostert was not convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances. 

He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm. 


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