ET case postponed, defence not ready

2011-05-03 13:05

The new counsel for Chris Mahlangu, accused along with a minor of killing AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche, was today granted a postponement in the Ventersdorp High Court to prepare for trial.

Mahlangu’s previous attorney Puna Moroko came under fire by Mahlangu’s new attorney, Advocate Kjomogso Tlowana, for not having carried out the required legal work.

Tlowana submitted that forensic and DNA evidence, photographs, witness statements and pointing-outs had not been examined by experts.

He said Moroko should have tracked down potential witnesses to help the defence, but had not done so. The court heard that Moroko had made numerous statements to the media that were potentially detrimental to Mahlangu’s case.

These reports may be included in the defence’s evidence.

Tlowana said his client would suffer prejudice and not receive a fair trial if the case was not postponed.

Advocate Norman Arendse, acting on behalf of the accused minor, said there was reason to believe Moroko had not consulted with Mahlangu since last year.

He said Moroko only contacted Mahlangu on Thursday to tell him he was withdrawing from the case.

“And this was only confirmed on Friday. To withdraw at the last minute is totally unacceptable, it should be looked at by the Law Society ... it brings the law profession into disrepute,” an angry Arendse said.

Arendse said there was a possibility both defence teams could merge.

“There is a possibility that we may form one defence team for both accused. That requires a lot of attention, consent of the accused and consent from the minor’s parents.”

Judge John Horn said the trial would have to start before next Friday as he would be unavailable thereafter.

Arendse argued that if Horn was not available, another judge should be assigned to the case.

“Once the defence finds a strategy, we may reapply for bail. We are mindful of the great public interest, but this should also not weigh heavily against the accused. This request is far from being unusual,” Arendse said.

The court gave the defence until Monday to say when it would be ready for trial, but the case would not go ahead on Monday.

The media and four Terre’Blanche family members were placed in a small room with two large flat screen, closed-circuit televisions to view today’s proceedings.

The 16 journalists granted access to the room were handed green name cards by a court official, and were subjected to a search. Those without the tags could not enter the room.

Photographers and cameramen were escorted to the actual courtroom where they were allowed to take pictures and film only Mahlangu.

A large group of uniformed AWB members, and supporters of the accused stood outside the court house as police put up yellow crime scene tape to keep them away from the gates.

Police and security officials were at various points at the court.

At the pair’s first court appearance last year, local black residents and AWB members taunted each other, almost coming to blows. Police separated them with barbed wire.

There were however, no such scenes today.

Mahlangu and the minor allegedly bludgeoned Terre’Blanche to death at his farmhouse in April last year, apparently due to a wage dispute.

The murder received international media coverage and sparked public debate about race relations, raised questions of whether the crime was politically motivated, and dealt with speculation of sodomy.

There were also claims that the murder was linked to the singing of “shoot the boer” by ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema. 

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.