Lotter rejects attorney

2011-03-17 00:00

DURBAN — In a dramatic turn of events Nicolette Lotter, who is on trial in connection with her parents’ murder, argued in the high court here yesterday that her trial will not be fair because her appointed attorney and the judge are apparently “good friends”.

The sensational trial of Lotter (26), her former boyfriend, Mathew Naidoo (21), and her brother, Hardus (20), was to have started before judge Chiman Patel yesterday.

The three are charged with brutally murdering Johnny Lotter (53) and his wife Riekie (52) in their home in July 2008. In earlier court proceedings it appeared that Naidoo allegedly referred to himself as the “third son of God”.

At the start of yesterday’s proceedings Lotter objected that the Legal Aid Board allocated her a new attorney, Burt Laing, at short notice after advocate Theuns Botha had already been working on her case for a year on the Board’s instruction.

Botha is presently involved in a trial in Pongola and could, therefore, not be in Durban.

Patel’s response was that the legal system would be plunged into chaos if every accused insisted on the state’s appointing the legal representative of his or her choice.

It was then that Lotter argued that Laing told her “straight out” that he is “good friends” with Patel. According to her Laing told her she “must tell the court I was possessed by a demon … and that I will get life imprisonment”.

She believes that with Laing as her legal representative she will not receive a fair trial before Patel.

Patel was Laing’s lecturer thirty years ago. Laing told the court his words to Lotter were that he “knows” Patel.

He said it was Lotter who questioned him about the judge, because she wanted to know how the court would receive the testimony of a particular psychologist.

An animated Patel said that in the light of Lotter’s allegations it would be better for Laing to withdraw from the case, but warned Lotter that she will have to conduct her own defence if she delays proceedings again on the matter of legal representation.

“Do you understand me, Miss?” Patel asked her.

The trial was finally postponed to 24 October so that Botha can better represent Lotter.

While Lotter smiled several times during yesterday’s proceedings, her uncles and aunts in the public gallery at the back had no contact with her or her brother.

According to Piet Matthee it is very painful for the family that the case has become so drawn-out.


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