/ 2 October 2007

‘Advocate Barbie’ trial delayed again

The trial of Cezanne Visser, also known as ”Advocate Barbie”, has once again been delayed because no judge was available to preside in the case.

The defence and the state were only informed this week that no judge had been assigned to the case.

The attractive Visser was stylishly dressed in a light pants suit and black accessories for her brief court appearance.

As usual, her mother accompanied her.

Judge Khami Makhafola provisionally postponed Visser’s trial to October 12 to allow the state to arrange for the appointment of a judge. Visser’s bail of R4 000 was extended.

The trial will have to start anew after the previous trial judge, Judge Essop Patel, died in April this year.

Prosecutor Andre Fourie on Monday confirmed that the state witnesses, including several minors, would have to take the stand again, although it was possible that some of their evidence would be admitted.

A new indictment would also have to be drawn up.

Visser did not contest most of the evidence led during her trial and closed her case last year without leading evidence.

After the disappearance of her former co-accused and lover Dirk Prinsloo in May last year, she, however, appointed top criminal defence advocate Johan Engelbrecht to defend her.

Visser is still on the run and is presently on Interpol’s most-wanted list after failing to return from a trip to Russia.

Judge Patel at the time granted Visser leave to re-open her case to lead new evidence, including the evidence of several experts, and also referred her for a month’s mental observation.

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.

The court heard that Visser might not have been criminally responsible for her actions because of her alleged abuse by Prinsloo, his coercive control, post-traumatic stress and depression.

Visser and Prinsloo more than two years ago denied guilt on a total of 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.

He said Visser would testify that Prinsloo had drugged and assaulted her, afterwards telling her he did it because she was ”naughty”. — Sapa