/ 9 October 2008

Brown was raped, psychiatrist tells court

A psychiatrist on Thursday testified he is convinced former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown was in fact raped by a fellow prisoner earlier this year.

A psychiatrist on Thursday told the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court he is convinced former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown was in fact raped by a fellow prisoner earlier this year.

Dr Pieter Cilliers also told the court there had been an earlier incident in which prisoners tried to push something up Brown’s rectum in order to smuggle it into Pollsmoor prison. Although it was not mentioned in court, it is understood the substance was dagga.

Cilliers was testifying in a fresh bail application by Brown, who has been in custody since his arrest in May on R700 000 fraud and theft charges related to the Antheru Trust.

Brown’s legal team claimed less than a week after the arrest that he had been raped in the back of a vehicle ferrying prisoners from the courts, a claim that has been treated with scepticism by prosecutors.

Cilliers said, however, that based on medical evidence and his own repeated interviews with Brown, he is convinced Brown suffered traumatic anal penetration by ”a male organ”.

He had initially approached the issue ”quite suspiciously”, thinking it could be a ruse by Brown to secure better conditions. However, Brown’s story has been absolutely consistent.

Cilliers said that after a period of severe depression in which Brown had been temporarily unable to give instructions to his attorneys or stand trial in another matter, his mental state improved significantly. He is not in full remission, but he is able to make decisions and can deal with legal processes.

His condition now is one of major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, in partial remission, with underlying bipolar mood disorder. The stress disorder is mainly due to the assault.

Cilliers said he had been told that both Brown’s mother and an uncle were bipolar, a condition that is usually genetically inherited and is characterised by swings between elation and depression. It used to be called manic depression.

If the condition is properly managed with medication, bipolar people can lead absolutely normal lives.

Cilliers said Brown is ”bipolar two”, which means his ”up” swing is not manic but hypomanic, a mild form of mania. This is characterised by lots of energy, ”grandiosity” and spending money freely.

The psychiatrist said he had been told by a Fidentia colleague of Brown’s that Brown would embark on a grand plan, involving all his staff, then get very depressed, stay in bed and not go in to the office.

The bail application continues on Friday.

Brown’s attorney, Rashad Khan, told magistrate Justhree Steyn he was contemplating calling Brown’s former attorney William Booth as a witness.

Steyn earlier on Thursday rejected a bid by the state to have Brown sent for 30 days’ mental observation, saying it would not be in the interests of justice. — Sapa