Dentist accused of twins’ murder faces psychiatric examination

A Spanish dentist accused of murdering his 3-year-old twins in Cape Town might be examined in a psychiatric hospital.

Mario Yela‚ 48‚ was arrested in Wynberg on April 7 after allegedly telling his ex-wife he had murdered their children in a rented Hout Bay apartment.

He appeared in Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday when his attorney‚ William Booth‚ told the court Yela might be “considered for referral to Valkenberg” for an assessment of whether his mental state on the day of the murders could be cause for diminished responsibility.

Booth told TimesLIVE that although his client is not “insane” he had reason to believe Yela was not fully cognisant of his behaviour on the day he is suspected of murdering Octavia and Maximo.

“There are two aspects for a referral for assessment; one‚ is the person due to mental illness or defect able to understand the proceedings in court; or two‚ at the time of the incident‚ did that person have the necessary ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct?” said Booth.

“I have to determine whether at the time of the incident was his mental state such that he could distinguish between right or wrong.”

He said a number of events on the day of the alleged murders could have affected Yela’s mental state‚ adding that there were many things his client could not remember.

The case was postponed until July 26‚ when magistrate Goolam Bawa will rule on whether Yela should have access to the police docket‚ a request opposed by prosecutor Louise Freister-Sampson. He is expected to apply for bail on July 28.

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