The psychiatric report of a man accused of raping and murdering an elderly woman in the Swakop River does not specify whether he is fit to stand trial or not.
State Advocate Cliff Litubezi informed Judge Naomi Shivute that Gotlieb Gariseb, 35, was assessed by psychiatrists at the Windhoek Mental Hospital, but their report is a bit ambiguous as it does not clearly indicate his situation.
Litubezi asked the court for a postponement to call the psychiatrist responsible for the report to explain their findings. According to Litubezi, the report is unclear, as on the one hand it says Gariseb is unfit to stand trial, while on the other it indicates that he can appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions.
Gariseb was already declared mentally ill when he was sent for mental observation in a previous case. He is currently charged with the rape and murder of 64-year-old Theresia Tsuses in the Swakop River near Otjimbingwe on January 24, 2012.
He underwent psychiatric tests from February 9 to March 3 this year in a separate case of malicious damage to property that was heard in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court. In a report produced by Dr Frederika Mthoko, she declared him mentally ill and unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct.
He was then sent back to the Psychiatry Department at Windhoek Central Hospital after his State-funded lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, asked the court for a referral as Gariseb gave irrelevant answers to questions put to him.
For instance, when Siyomunji asked Gariseb if he knows why he is in court, he answered: “The people brought me here. Go ask them”. Or when asked what happened at the river on the day in question he would answer: “The river must know. Go ask the river.”
The latest report is the cause of the confusion. After his lawyer asked the court for the referral, Gariseb of his own volition said through his interpreter that he had already been sent to the “malkamp” (insane asylum), but said he was sane.
However, when he was asked to bring the medical report that was compiled on his condition he gave his lawyer the indictment. He denied any knowledge of the crimes when he pleaded to the charges, saying that the river must tell what happened.
He is also charged with attempted rape. The woman he tried to rape told the court during her evidence in chief that he (Gariseb) approached her at her residence in Otjimbingwe on the same day the deceased was killed, telling her that he was going to rape and kill her. While he was talking to her, she noticed his erect manhood through his trousers’ zipper, the complainant stated.
She further narrated that Gariseb then grabbed her by her throat in an attempt to overpower and rape her, but she prevailed and managed to turn the tables on him. Gariseb then ran away in the direction of the river, while she chased after him, but she soon lost track of him, she said.
She testified that while giving chase she saw Gariseb running past the deceased, who was in the company of a young child. The matter has been postponed to November 11 for the psychiatrist to explain the report.