Pete Mihalik murder: Accused struggle to find lawyers for high court trial

2019-11-29 12:18
Sizwe Biyela, Nathi Khumalo and Vuyile Maliti in court for the murder of Pete Mihalik.

Sizwe Biyela, Nathi Khumalo and Vuyile Maliti in court for the murder of Pete Mihalik. (Jaco Marais)

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It has been a struggle to secure lawyers willing to represent two of the men accused of a suspected hit on Cape Town advocate Pete Mihalik, the Western Cape High Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutor Susan Booysen said there had been problems getting legal representatives on board for Sizwe Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo, and the net would have to be cast wider to look at lawyers in other provinces.

Both had applied for Legal Aid.

The two, together with Vuyile Maliti, appeared in front of Judge Mushtak Parker for their first pre-trial hearing in the high court.

They face charges of murder, two of attempted murder, as well as possession of an unlicensed gun and ammunition following the killing of Mihalik while he was dropping off his children near Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard School in Green Point, Cape Town, on October 30 last year.

They are being held at different prisons in the province after a lower court denied their bail applications, finding that the State had prima facie evidence that they had been part of the "well-organised and meticulous planning" of Mihalik's murder.

Advocate Inger Jansen, standing in for Jannie Kruger as Maliti's representative, said they wanted to bring an application or request an order to transfer their client from Drakenstein Prison to somewhere closer.

READ | Mihalik murder: One year on and family still waits for justice

He was apparently the only awaiting trial prisoner there.

Booysen quickly consulted with investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear by cellphone, as she was not sure whether he had any security concerns.

With his go-ahead, it was agreed that Maliti would be transferred to Goodwood Prison.

Maliti then whispered something to Jansen and she told the court that all his belongings were still at Drakenstein and he would need to fetch them.

Parker said he could not direct correctional services, but that Maliti should ask the police to assist him.

"At the moment he is a guest of the South African Police. So if he can persuade the police to go and take him to Drakenstein to get his belongings, then..."

The State charges that Biyela and Khumalo were brought to Cape Town from KwaZulu-Natal to carry out a hit, allegedly instructed by Maliti.

The three, together with a fourth unidentified suspect, allegedly travelled in two cars – a VW Polo and a Renault Clio – both spotted on CCTV footage in the area a day before Mihalik was killed, as well as the morning of the shooting.

Khumalo was arrested less than an hour after Mihalik was gunned down. A traffic officer pulled over the Clio he was driving and the VW Polo behind him for ignoring a stop sign.

Their case was postponed until February 28 for legal representation.

Read more on:    pete mihalik  |  cape town  |  murder  |  crime  |  court
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