Murder trial paused for mental check

2011-11-17 00:00

THE trial of three men charged with the murder and robbery of Ashburton man Bob Hudson-Bennett (61), ground to a halt yesterday after family members of one of the accused produced reports indicating that he suffers from “mild mental retardation”.

Defence advocate Seema Takchund, who represents Mzwakhe Mdlalose (19), told Judge Rishi Seegobin that she holds reports from a social worker, a clinical psychologist and a medical doctor.

The reports confirmed the claim by family members that the accused had been receiving treatment for a mental condition since 2007, she said.

They show sufficient reason for him to be referred to Fort Napier hospital for a period of observation before the trial resumes.

State advocate Dheelan Naidoo said the state is making arrangements for a bed for Mzwakhe at Fort Napier.

The case will thereafter be postponed to January 11, next year.

Hudson-Bennett’s wife, Sheryl, gave evidence on Monday in the trial. An alleged accomplice to the offences had already begun testifying when the allegations concerning Mzwakhe’s illness came to light.

Mzwakhe and two co-accused, Sandile Mncwabe (21) and Sphamandla Mkhize (22), pleaded not guilty to the charges. The state alleges they were among a group of six robbers who broke into Hudson-Bennett’s home after observing cars leaving the premises on the night of February 5.

When they realised that Hudson-Bennett was in the house they confronted him and stabbed him to death.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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