The terrorism charges against a former Scorpions investigator accused of attempting to rob a bank at Menlyn Maine shopping centre in Pretoria have been withdrawn.
Ekhardt Albertus Mostert, known as Mossie Mostert, appeared briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court where it was revealed that he only faces a charge of attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances.
He initially also faced charges of terrorism and the contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act.
The amended charge sheet, which News24 has seen, reflected the change.
During court proceedings, Mostert’s attorney, Oelof de Meyer, noted that the terrorism charges were withdrawn, saying the State made a wise decision.
The court also heard that Mostert was still on the waiting list for a bed at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital. Mostert was referred for observation after a district surgeon examined him in September.
According to the district surgeon’s report, which News24 has seen, Mostert was able to understand the gravity of the offences that he allegedly committed.
The report also indicated that he would be able to follow the court case, that he understood the implications of a possible conviction and could describe the circumstances of the alleged crime and recall relevant facts.
The district surgeon further noted that he did not suffer from any delusions, amnesia or hallucinations.
History of psychosis
However, it was revealed that Mostert suffers from psychosis, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The report also indicated that a psychologist and psychiatrist treated him for these.
The district surgeon added that Mostert said he didn’t think he had a future, that he had suicidal thoughts and displayed symptoms of depression.
“The accused person has insight and will be able to follow a court case but there is a history of psychosis, PTSD and suicidal thoughts. So it’s recommended that he undergo psychiatric evaluation,” the district surgeon stated.
I want to plead guilty
During his first court appearance, Mostert told the court he wanted to defend himself and then, without being asked to, said he wanted to plead guilty.
Mostert, who is a former investigator of the defunct Scorpions, was told that the charges, particularly the terrorism charges, were serious and that if he was convicted, he could face life imprisonment. This was for the terrorism charges.
He said he understood this, but he would still defend himself. He maintained that he wanted to plead guilty.
Prosecutor Kagisho Rancho informed the court that they could not yet accept the plea because a certificate still had to be issued by the deputy public prosecutor because of the terrorism charges.
The alleged crime
Mostert was arrested at Menlyn Maine shopping centre in September after he allegedly tried to rob an Absa bank.
According to the police, he was believed to have entered the bank at around 11:15 and walked straight to a bank teller and handed over a note.
It is alleged that he disguised himself by wearing a wig and entered the bank with a device in his possession, which he later claimed was a bomb.
In the note, according to police, he demanded a sum of money and told the teller he had a bomb. The teller hit the silent alarm and Mostert was arrested shortly afterward.
The police’s bomb squad and K9 Unit were called to the scene to inspect the device.
Sniffer dogs initially reacted positively to the device. However, the bomb disposal unit found that it was not a bomb but that the man had sprinkled gunpowder on the device to make it appear authentic.
The matter has been postponed to January 27, 2020.