Cape Argus (SA), iol.co.za, Mar. 16
The family of the victims of the alleged “Mitchells Plain Monster” reacted with shock and anger to the news on Monday that Lewis Bowman’s trial will be postponed for more than six months — pending his second psychiatric evaluation.
“We come here every day to hear what actually happened and get some peace in our minds. Now it seems we will have to keep waiting,” said one relative.
On Monday Bowman’s advocate, Jereld James Camphor, applied for the re-opening of his client’s original psychiatric assessment by Valkenberg doctor Sean Kaliski, in which Kaliski found that Bowman was not criminally insane.
The surprise move came after Kaliski testified that he might have reached a different decision regarding Bowman’s fitness to stand trial if he was prepared “to share his thoughts” on his alleged crimes.
Camphor told the court his client was “now prepared to give his full co-operation” and “reveal new information” to the Valkenberg authorities. Bowman was referred to Valkenberg for observation by Mr Justice Willem Louw in the Cape High Court, and the trial postponed to October 11.
Last month Bowman pleaded not guilty to the murders of Westridge couple Valerie and Terence Oliver, and the killing of Mrs Oliver’s son from a previous marriage, Ricardo Olifant, He also pleaded not guilty to all charges related to his alleged abduction, assault and rape of two former friends — one of whom he allegedly raped in front of her four-year-old daughter.
Olifant was killed by a single stab wound to the chest, while the Olivers were stabbed and throttled with ladies’ night gowns.
Bowman’s original psychiatric report, completed by Kaliski in August 2002, states that Bowman “insisted that he had amnesia for the periods of the offences” but could remember “many details about his other activities during that weekend”.
“He claimed to have consumed a great deal of Mandrax beforehand. A psychiatric cause for his amnesia could not be established (as Mandrax intoxication is not associated with long periods of memory loss).”
The report noted that Bowman’s family had asked him to leave their home in 1997, after he stole from them in to pay for drugs. After moving back in with them in 1999 he was again asked to leave — two months before the murders took place — when his drug problem resurfaced.
Though admitting he had sex with the two women he allegedly raped in the Oliver’s house, Bowman claimed the sex was consensual — providing a graphic account of the alleged sex acts in his own evidence and during his advocate’s cross-examination of the women.
While confirming that he had been in the Olivers’ home between April 19 and 21, 2002 — the weekend when the family was believed to have been murdered — Bowman denied killing them.
One of Bowman’s alleged rape victims said he had described himself as the Olivers’ huiskind.
Bowman himself testified he was “like family” to Olifant and the Oliver couple, claiming to have taken Mr Oliver’s keys because the ones the family had given him were “at home”.
Further evidence against Bowman included him being seen with Mr Oliver’s cellphone on the weekend of the killings, a Cash Crusaders receipt for the sale of several Oliver family heirlooms apparently signed by Bowman and attached to a photocopy of his ID and the discovery of four dolls belonging to Mrs Oliver in his bag.
Though unwilling to be quoted directly, members of the Oliver family on Monday expressed dismay and anger about the long delay.