Dou­ble-mur­der ac­cused claims he was pos­sessed by a de­mon, court told

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - BOTHO MOLOSANKWE

THE MAN ac­cused of killing his wife and her sis­ter has re­li­gious delu­sions – he con­sid­ers him­self a black Jew who was cho­sen for greater things.

This was the tes­ti­mony of Dr Ja­cobus Roux, a psy­chi­a­trist who tes­ti­fied yes­ter­day that Frans Ser­oba has men­tal prob­lems and is there­fore, not fit to stand trial.

Ex­plain­ing the rea­son be­hind the dou­ble mur­ders, Ser­oba claims that a de­mon took pos­ses­sion of him.

“He was ob­sessed with his wife and now he is ob­sessed with re­li­gion,” Roux told the Joburg High Court sit­ting in Palm Ridge yes­ter­day.

The tes­ti­mony comes in spite of the fact that Ser­oba has un­der­gone two psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tions at Sterkfontein Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal and was found to be fit to stand trial.

Seven years ago, Ser­oba al­legedly shot and killed his wife Martha at their Sand­ton home, then killed her sis­ter, Sarah Makwati, at her work­place in Braam- fontein. He is out on R20 000 bail.

The case has been post­poned more than 30 times in seven years.

When the trial was sup­posed to start on Mon­day, Ser­oba’s lawyer said his client could not com­pre­hend what was hap­pen­ing and would bring a doc­tor to tes­tify to that ef­fect.

The State, how­ever, re­quested yet another post­pone­ment – this time to take Ser­oba to another psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal.

But Judge Bert Bam re­fused to grant the post­pone­ment.

He said it would not be in the in­ter­ests of jus­tice to do so and that the court would de­ter­mine whether Ser­oba was fit to stand trial.

Roux, who was the first wit­ness to take the stand in the in­quiry yes­ter­day, told the court Ser­oba, 54, had in the past been di­ag­nosed with bipo­lar and psy­chotic dis­or­ders, among oth­ers.

When he con­sulted with him from Jan­uary, Ser­oba had more schiz­o­phrenic symp­toms. The for­mer banker heard voices talk­ing to him all the time.

Even in court yes­ter­day, he could see how Ser­oba’s lawyer bat­tled to get through to him dur­ing a con­sul­ta­tion, Roux said.

In cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, the pros­e­cu­tor, ad­vo­cate Leonie Makoko, asked Roux how it was pos­si­ble he was able to de­ter­mine that Ser­oba was not fit to stand trial after about 10 hours of con­sul­ta­tion, while he had spent more than 60 days as a pa­tient in Sterkfontein and psy­chi­a­trists said he was fit to stand trial.

Roux said it would be un­fair to com­ment on those old re­ports.

The in­quiry con­tin­ues.

‘MEN­TALLY ILL’: Frans Ser­oba is ac­cused of mur­der­ing his wife and sis­ter-in-law in 2007.

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