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Zephany Nurse: State questions psychologist's experience

The clinical psychologist conceded that he has only compiled five pre-trial reports since 2012.

The Nurse family arrives at the Western Cape High Court for the sentencing proceedings of a Lavender Hill woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse in 1997. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The State has argued that a clinical psychologist who assessed the woman convicted of kidnapping Zephany Nurse is too inexperienced to deal with the matter.

Clinical psychologist Mark Steyn presented a psychological assessment report to the Western Cape High Court.

Steyn, who's been called to give evidence by the defence, says the accused maintains she was wrongfully convicted.

But the State says Steyn does not have enough experience to handle this matter, as he has only been practicing as a clinical psychologist for a year and a half.

Steyn has also conceded that he has only compiled five pre-trial reports since 2012.

The State says the report is flawed and believes Steyn has been thrown into the deep end by the defence.

Earlier this year, the Lavender Hill woman was found guilty of snatching three-day-old baby Nurse from her sleeping mother's arms at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997.

Zephany, who is now 19, was reunited with her biological parents last year.

Steyn has testified that he conducted 13 interviews with the convicted kidnapper over 16 hours.

He says the objective was to corroborate what she had told the court earlier this year.

The clinical psychologist says the 52-year-old woman maintains she was wrongly convicted and she did not steal the baby.

Steyn has told the court, the kidnapper has various serious medical conditions including heart problems, allergies and type 2 diabetes.

He has also detailed her battle with infertility, physical abuse and addictions to nicotine and alcohol.

KIDNAPPER 'DELUSIONAL & MANIPULATIVE'

Steyn is the defence team's only witness.

His report details the convicted kidnapper's troubled childhood, dysfunctional relationship with her mother and abusive relationships.

Prosecutor Evadne Kortje earlier questioned why the court must consider the convicted kidnapper's personal history and lack of remorse.

Kortje also asked Steyn whether the kidnapper's narrative can influence the outcome of one of the tests she underwent.

He confirmed it can.

The State also questioned how an American psychology test, conducted by Steyn, could apply to a South African context.

Kortje told the State's psychologist the 52-year-old kidnapper is delusional and manipulative, because she has still not admitted to that she stole the three-day-old baby.

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