'Exorcist' will not testify in beheading case at this stage
14 March 2016, 15:54
Cape Town - A pastor will not be testifying at this stage on the alleged demonic forces possessing a man who admitted to beheading Lee Adams, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday.
Judge Elize Steyn refused the application by defence lawyer Sheriff Mohamed to re-open his client Aljar Swartz’s case.
She said the testimony was not material to the outcome of the merits of the trial. It was therefore not in the interests of justice to re-open the case.
Citing him as an internationally renowned exorcist, Mohamed had wanted to call Reverend Cecil Begbie to the stand to explain a planned exorcism and his client’s disturbances from a spiritual point of view.
Swartz, who is charged with Adams murder in 2013, was said to be “seeing lizards” and unable to get much sleep because demons had possessed him.
Explaining her ruling, Steyn said she did not doubt the minister’s sincerity, but was not persuaded that he was an expert on Satanism.
The accused was also found fit to stand trial by a panel of psychiatric experts.
‘An expert in spiritual welfare’
Before the court ruled on the application on Monday morning, Mohamed gave a history lesson on psychiatry to defend his application.
He had argued that psychiatrists did not go into the realm of demonic forces and exorcism.
“The Ancient Greeks began to question the role of supernatural forces… Hippocrates believed supernatural forces had no influence on disturbed behaviour,” he read aloud from a textbook.
Pointing at a paragraph, he said many disturbed people were rejected and ended up in monasteries.
“Monks treated them with herbal remedies and prayer. All I am saying my lady is this question of the accused… can only be treated by an expert in spiritual welfare and that is the reverend.”
A security guard found the boy’s body at an abandoned school in Ravensmead. The head was later found in a shallow grave in the accused’s yard.
Swartz admitted to the crimes and said in a document he was a follower of Satan at the time. He wanted to sell the body parts to a sangoma (traditional healer).
The court would hand down judgment on his guilt later on Monday.