In the appeal judgment, judge Vusi Nkosi, with judges Rashid Vahed and Esther Steyn concurring, said the issue for determination was whether, at the time of the crimes, Ntshongwana lacked the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct, or to act in accordance with such appreciation.

His advocate Jimmy Howse argued that he lacked criminal capacity, as shown by several medical reports submitted during the trial which reflected he had a history of mental illness, diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and presenting with symptoms of paranoid persecutory delusions.

Nkosi said the views expressed by the experts regarding his state of mind at the time of the commission of the offences was “purely speculative”.

“The appellant [Ntshongwana] is the only person who could attest to his state of mind. His decision not to testify left the trial judge with, at best, conflicting opinions of the experts.

“He claims he suffered from amnesia and had no recollection of committing the crimes. Considering the offences were committed in two distinct spurts, covering a period of four months, it is highly improbable, if not untrue, that he could suffer from amnesia over such a long period,” the judge said.

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