Charges against one of the policemen linked to the murder of Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane were withdrawn in the Ficksburg Regional Court on Monday.
The State withdrew all charges against Kanathasen Munsamay and magistrate Hein van Niekerk excused him from the proceedings.
The trial of the seven remaining policemen then got underway. The accused are Nicodemus Israel Moiloa, Mothusi Magano, Mphonyana Ntaje, Olebogeng Mphirime, Solomon Moeketsi, Jonas Skosana and Isaac Finger. They stand accused of murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
All seven have pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Tatane was killed in Meqheleng, allegedly by public order police, during a service delivery protest on April 13 last year.
Video footage showed riot police beating Tatane during the march to the Setsoto municipal offices in Ficksburg. Over several days, roads were blocked with stones and bricks, and tyres set alight.
The State called its first witness, Phillip Selokoe, the deputy chairman of the Meqheleng Concerned Citizens group.
Soon after Selokoe began his testimony the magistrate adjourned for lunch.