Johannesburg – DJ Donald Sebolai’s version of how his girlfriend died was probably truthful because he relayed it while in a hypnotic state.
That’s according to psychologist Sathasivan Cooper who told the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Thursday that Sebolai was not even aware that he had been hypnotised at the time.
Cooper said he managed to get him into a hypnotic state after using some relaxation techniques on him.
He had held three consultations with Sebolai before the trial started last month and claimed to have initially been sceptical of the version that Sebolai had given him. This led him to put Sebolai under hypnosis.
Cooper said he managed to take Sebolai to the scene of July 29 2014, where his girlfriend, Dolly Tshabalala died in his flat after suffering a stab wound from the pelvic area to the thigh.
Sebolai was charged for her murder. He has pleaded not guilty and testified that Tshabalala was injured as the pair of them struggled over a knife that she had used to stab him, accusing him of cheating.
Under cross-examination by prosecutor Elize le Roux, Cooper said he was confident in his techniques, but admitted they were not full proof.
“If it was full proof, there would be no need for the courts,” he said.
The professor, who has more than 30 years of experience, said he was in possession of the audio clips from the session.
Cooper and Le Roux clashed several times during his cross-examination as Le Roux questioned why he had relied solely on Sebolai’s consultations with him as well as discussions with Sebolai’s sister and former boss, to conduct his report.
Cooper hit back, saying that in the years in which he has assisted both the State and defence legal teams, he has never used the contents of a docket.
“With all respect ma’am, my job is not to assess the case but to assess the state of mind of the accused. [Looking at the facts of the case] is the court’s job,” he said.
“My view is that certain information can be affected by contaminants,” he said.
Killing not intentional
Cooper told the court that he believed that Sebolai did not intentionally kill his girlfriend.
Le Roux continued to tear into his testimony and report. She questioned whether he had tested Sebolai on other aspects in order to determine if he had been lying. Cooper said he had not.
Cooper also told the court that Sebolai was not a person who was below average intelligence and if he had intended, he could have covered his tracks after killing Tshabalala.
“No one would have known. It was in the early hours of the morning. His version makes sense,” said Cooper.
He added that he had no feelings of sympathy for the accused and he was simply doing his job.
He said he had noted Sebolai’s remorse, adding that he placed no blame for the incident on Tshabalala.
Sebolai nodded in agreement with Cooper, leading Tshabalala’s mother, Elizabeth Marawa to click her tongue loudly during the proceedings.
When court adjourned, she made remarks to Sebolai, asking him what he found so amusing.
Sebolai hurried out of court with his family.
The matter was set to continue on Friday where the State was expected to conclude its cross-examination of Cooper and the defence was expected to wrap up its case.
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