'Advocate Barbie' sent for mental observation

Alleged child molester Cezanne Visser was referred for a month’s mental observation at a state psychiatric hospital by the Pretoria High Court on Friday.

Judge Essop Patel said he hoped the hospital visit would be beneficial to Visser who stands accused of numerous sex crimes with her former lover Dirk Prinsloo.

Visser is to report to the Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria on Monday.

Bail was temporarily withdrawn but would be reinstated when Visser next appeared in court on October 4.

Patel also instructed the hospital to maintain Visser’s privacy and dignity during her stay.

Meanwhile, counsel for Visser Johan Engelbrecht said Prinsloo’s former wife and girlfriend will be called to testify on how Prinsloo behaved towards them.

This was after Patel allowed Visser to re-open her case so she and other witnesses could testify against Prinsloo.

Visser claimed her judgement had been impaired by Prinsloo’s abuse and coercive control to such an extent that although she knew the difference between right and wrong, she could not act accordingly.

Engelbrecht objected to Visser’s referral to Weskoppies for observation before she and her experts had testified, but Patel said the state did not have the resources to appoint its own experts and there was no other mechanism that provided for a balanced observation of an accused by a panel of experts.

He said such an inquiry and report could not only be to the benefit of Visser, but also to the interests of justice.

The judge said the panel, consisting of a state psychiatrist, two private psychiatrists and a psychologist with experience in the field of domestic abuse, must determine if Visser was in fact suffering from or had suffered from post-traumatic stress and depression and if so what the cause of it was.

The experts will also have to determine if and to what extent Visser had been subjected to domestic abuse and coercive control by her partner, what the impact was on her and if it had impaired her judgement.

A further issue to be determined was if at the time of committing the alleged crimes, Visser had not been criminally responsible for her actions because of abuse, coercive control, post-traumatic stress, depression or any other reason.

Visser and the still-missing Prinsloo—who absconded several months ago—have denied guilt on 15 charges ranging from rape to indecent assault, soliciting minors to commit indecent acts and the possession and manufacture of child pornography.

The state alleges Visser had fetched young girls from children’s homes under false pretences, and subjected them to sexual abuse.

Visser and Prinsloo had allegedly, amongst others, exposed themselves to the girls, showed pornography to them and even had sex in front of one of them.

Engelbrecht earlier told the court he had nude photos of Visser, which showed purple marks on her body. Visser would testify that Prinsloo had drugged and assaulted her, afterwards telling her he did it because she was “naughty”.

Nude photos of Prinsloo’s ex-wife and girlfriend allegedly showed similarities to the photos of Visser.—Sapa

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