State lawyer quits rape suit

2008-10-23 00:00

The civil trial in which a Vryheid game rancher and a farm manager are suing the minister of Safety and Security for R1,2 million and R350 000 respectively for the trauma they suffered when they were attacked by 14 violent inmates in a police cell in January 2006, is to be postponed after the state’s advocate withdrew yesterday.

Following lengthy talks at court and in the judge’s chambers between the legal teams, advocate Joseph Kilani told Judge Nic van der Reyden that he did not feel able to proceed with the case.

The judge said he could not compel him to continue and granted him permission to withdraw.

Advocate Gerhard Roberts, SC, confirmed that the advocate’s withdrawal is likely to result in a lengthy delay before the trial, which had been set down for hearing over three days this week, can resume again, due to the congestion of court rolls.

He has also asked the court to order the state to pay the wasted costs of the adjournment.

The judge granted a postponement until today to enable the state attorney to appoint a representative to argue the issue of costs.

Game rancher Etienne van Wyk was allegedly repeatedly sodomised and both he and farm manager Zacharia Duvenhage were allegedly severely assaulted following their arrest on January 27, 2006 on a charge that they transported game animals without a licence.

The court has heard that that they were placed in a police cell at Hlobane that held 14 suspects wanted for violent crimes including murder and rape.

An acting station commander at the Hlobane police cells allegedly slept through the attack, while Van Wyk screamed and the inmates sang to mask the sounds coming from the cell.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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