Mur­der ac­cused Zinde’s men­tal state in spot­light again

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TANKISO MAKHETHA tankiso.makhetha

DE­TAILS of Mark Zinde’s de­pres­sion were again re­vealed when the 23-year-old was read­mit­ted to Weskop­pies Psy­chi­atric Hospi­tal.

Zinde ap­peared in the high court in Pretoria on Thurs­day, where he is fac­ing a charge of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der, pos­ses­sion of il­le­gal sub­stances and as­sault.

De­siree Zinde, Mark’s aunt, brought an ap­pli­ca­tion in which she de­tailed her nephew’s men­tal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion.

She de­scribed how Mark had be­come with­drawn, locked him­self in his room, re­fused to eat and ceased func­tion­ing around 2012.

She said the family found out af­ter her sis­ter’s death that Mark had been di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion with psy­chotic fea­tures, for which he had been hos­pi­talised in 2014.

She said her sis­ter was afraid of him, and a psy­chi­a­trist had rec­om­mended in­vol­un­tary ad­mis­sion to a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion af­ter he stopped us­ing his med­i­ca­tion.

De­siree de­scribed his be­hav­iour as in­creas­ingly ir­ra­tional, bizarre and at times ag­gres­sive and scary. Prison warders told the family that Mark did not talk to any­one; re­fused to change clothes, which had lice; and slept un­der his bed.

“Ev­ery visit left us emo­tion­ally drained, as com­mu­ni­ca­tion with him be­came close to im­pos­si­ble. He would be ex­tremely quiet for the most part. He al­ways car­ried a plas­tic bag full of empty plas­tic bot­tles with him. Ev­ery­thing about his be­hav­iour was and still is ab­nor­mal,” De­siree said.

State pros­e­cu­tor ad­vo­cate An­dre Wilse­nach did not op­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion but ques­tioned whether Mark would be able to un­der­stand and fully par­tic­i­pate in le­gal pro­ceed­ings.

Judge Papi Ma­sopa re­ferred Mark for psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tion to de­ter­mine whether he suf­fered from any men­tal ill­ness, could follow and con­trib­ute to court pro­ceed­ings and if he had the ca­pac­ity to dis­tin­guish right from wrong at the time he al­legedly com­mit­ted the of­fences.

Ear­lier in the year, the Brits Mag­is­trate’s Court heard the family had ap­pointed a pri­vate psy­chi­a­trist who re­ported that he be­lieved Mark suf­fered from schizophre­nia with pre­dom­i­nantly neg­a­tive fea­tures, and could now have de­vel­oped some fea­tures of cata­to­nia.

Mark is ac­cused of mur­der­ing his mother at their house in Pe­can­wood es­tate near Brits in June last year and of at­tempt­ing to mur­der his fa­ther, Dr Le­bo­hang Man­oto, and as­sault­ing his wife in Novem­ber last year while out on bail. His trial was pro­vi­sion­ally post­poned to Au­gust 29.

IN THE DOCK: Mark Zinde

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