18 October 2017

South Africa: State Reopens 'Springs House of Horrors' Case

The prosecution in the "Springs house of horrors" trial is expected to call a clinical psychologist to testify in the North Gauteng High Court about the psychological aspects of a condition known as Stockholm Syndrome.

Gérard Labuschagne, who is expected to give evidence about the condition, spent 14 years as the head of the South African Police Service's Investigative Psychology Section (IPS), which performed similar functions as the FBI's Behavioural Analysis Units (BAUs).

A man and his wife, who are accused of abusing their five children, are on trial. They cannot be identified in order to protect the identities of their five children. Some of the children are minors.

Netwerk24 reported on October 13 that it was found that the children's mother showed symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome.

Another witness, Dr Pixie du Toit, who testified at the time, told the court that the condition did not only occur in people who are detained after being kidnapped.

State prosecutor Jennifer Cronje told the court that Labuschagne would testify on Stockholm Syndrome from a psychological point of view.

The mother would have been a State witness, but had a change of heart and decided not to testify against her husband.

Du Toit said this was typical of Stockholm Syndrome.

The mother's advocate, Harry Prinsloo, wants to appoint a psychologist for the mother and is expected to apply to the Legal Aid Board on Wednesday.

However, Cronje told the court that the mother had already been examined by three psychiatrists and a psychologist at the Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

"I am expressing my concerns, but this trial must come to an end," she said.

Defence attorney for the father, Anneke van Wyk, also stressed that the case must be finalised, adding that her client had been in custody for four years.

During their brief appearance, the pair sat a few metres apart from each other in the dock.

They are on trial for 42 charges including rape, child abuse, sexual abuse, drug dealing and the possession of drugs.

Police arrived at their house in Springs, on the East Rand, in May 2014, after the couple's son ran to a neighbour for help. The father was arrested on May 23.

The matter has been postponed to Thursday.

Source: News24

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