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Murder accused Zinde's mental state in spotlight again

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DETAILS of Mark Zinde’s de- pression were again revealed when the 23-year-old was readmitted to Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.

Zinde appeared in the high court in Pretoria on Thursday, where he is facing a charge of murder, attempted murder, possession of illegal substances and assault.

Desiree Zinde, Mark’s aunt, brought an application in which she detailed her nephew’s mental deterioration.

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IN THE DOCK: Mark Zinde

She described how Mark had become withdrawn, locked himself in his room, refused to eat and ceased functioning around 2012.

She said the family found out after her sister’s death that Mark had been diagnosed with depression with psychotic features, for which he had been hospitalised in 2014.

She said her sister was afraid of him, and a psychiatrist had recommended involuntary admission to a mental institution after he stopped using his medication.

Desiree described his behaviour as increasingly irrational, bizarre and at times aggressive and scary. Prison warders told the family that Mark did not talk to anyone; refused to change clothes, which had lice; and slept under his bed.

“Every visit left us emotionally drained, as communication with him became close to impossible. He would be extremely quiet for the most part. He always carried a plastic bag full of empty plastic bottles with him. Everything about his behaviour was and still is abnormal,” Desiree said.

State prosecutor advocate Andre Wilsenach did not oppose the application but questioned whether Mark would be able to understand and fully participate in legal proceedings.

Judge Papi Masopa referred Mark for psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he suffered from any mental illness, could follow and contribute to court proceedings and if he had the capacity to distinguish right from wrong at the time he allegedly committed the offences.

Earlier in the year, the Brits Magistrate's Court heard the family had appointed a private psychiatrist who reported that he believed Mark suffered from schizophrenia with predominantly negative features, and could now have developed some features of catatonia.

Mark is accused of murdering his mother at their house in Pecanwood estate near Brits in June last year and of attempting to murder his father, Dr Lebohang Manoto, and assaulting his wife in November last year while out on bail. His trial was provisionally postponed to August 29.

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