Murder accused to be assessed by private psychiatrist

Windhoek-The defence team of a man accused of stabbing his girlfriend at least 27 times in front of her four-year-old son has secured the services of local psychiatrist Dr Gerhard Marx to assess their client's mental stability and whether he can be held criminally responsible for his brutal actions.

Defence counsel Boris Isaacks told Judge Nate Ndauendapo that Marx has agreed to take on the case of Johny Ryno Diergaardt from February next year.

Isaacks asked the court to allow him to get a private psychiatrist to examine Diergaardt after both court-appointed psychiatrists, Dr Frederika Mthoko of the state, and private psychiatrist Dr Reinhardt Sieberhagen, declared him fit to stand trial.

Judge Ndauendapo then postponed the matter to May 10 next year for the assessment report to be handed in as evidence.

During his assessment Sieberhagen found that Diergaardt suffers from a diminished mental capacity for sentencing purposes, but that he was in his full mental capabilities when he committed the offence.

Mthoko's assessment also found Diergaardt knew what he was doing when he stabbed Tiffany Tanita Lewin on March 3, 2014 at the room he rented at Erf 427, Garnet Street in Khomasdal.

During Monday's court appearance state counsel, Seredine Jacobs, was not happy, but agreed that it would be in the interest of justice if Diergaardt was seen by an independent psychiatrist. She however cautioned that the continuous delays to find a psychiatrist should not unnecessarily stall the trial.

Yesterday she did not object to the postponement but indicated the state wants to proceed with the trial, whatever the outcome of the private mental observation.

Isaacks indicated that he would make an application for bail while they are waiting for the mental observation to start.

According to the indictment, Lewin and her son arrived during the early evening to collect some property which Diergaardt earlier the same day had removed from her handbag.

He then stabbed her at least 27 times with knives, after which he fled the scene.

Newspaper reports at the time indicated that the four-year-old boy tried to intervene and managed to stab the accused on his upper thigh in an attempt to stop the accused from continuing to stab his mother.

The deceased died on the scene due to blood loss.

The accused was arrested when he returned to his room later that night.

He remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility's section for trial-awaiting prisoners.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia