JOHANNESBURG – DJ Donald “Duck” Sebolai’s attorney, Thabang Mathopo, told the High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court that the former radio presenter did not fit the profile of a murderer.
Sebolai was found guilty of murdering his 32-year-old girlfriend, Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala. He stabbed her several times in the lower abdomen and left her to bleed to death in her Soweto flat on 29 June 2014.
Arguing in mitigation of sentence on Wednesday, Mathopo, insisted his client did not “fit the profile of a murderer”.
During the trial, pathologist Dr Mosou Paul Morule had testified that Dolly could have survived if she had received medical attention shortly after being stabbed.
Professor Rachel Jewkes, Head of Gender and Health research unit for the South African Medical Research Council, who was a witness for the state, had prepared acharacter report for the court.
During cross examination, Mathopo asked Jewkes if Sebolai would fit the profile of a murderer, to which the professor responded that “no specific person would fit the profile of possibly being a murderer”.
Jewkes had conducted a research study on gender violence around 1998 and was asked by Mathopo when her report was completed.
“In November,” she replied. Asked whether she had ever spoken to Sebolai, Jewkes said although she had never spoken to the accused before, her report was specifically for this case.
“The information I was given by the prosecutor included the report from Professor Cooper as well as key facts outlined in the case and shown photographs that were used,” said Jewkes.
Mathopo, though, argued that Jewkes’ report wasn’t based on cases in Gauteng and only focused on three other provinces.
The professor said her report was merely aimed at showing what was happening in the country, adding that she wasn’t able to get comment for Gauteng regarding similar cases.
Asked by Mathopo whether she was aware of any cases where women abused men, Jewkes said that she did.
State Prosecutor Eliza Le Roux objected to Mathopo’s line of questioning, saying that questions about females abusing men “weren’t relevant to this case”.
Mathopo said that he believed they were relevant because there was evidence given to the court that on several occasions Sebolai had been abused by Dolly.
“I put it to you that there was evidence given that the deceased used to emotionally and sometimes physically abuse the accused,” said Mathopo.
Jewkes said she wasn’t there when that evidence was given, but she agreed with the interpretation as it was also the nature that there was retaliatory violence.
Judge Cassim Moosa put it to Mathopo that he was asking Jewkes to make assumptions and said he wouldn’t allow him to continue with that line of questioning.
Jewkes stated that jealousy was usually the trigger for violent behaviour between couples.
Mathopo then asked Jewkes to comment on a part of her report where it stated that offenders usually had remorse and added that Sebolai had called Tshabalala’s friend after he murdered her.
“I’m not sure that I can comment,” replied Jewkes.