Alleged genital mutilator's trial hits obstacle

Peter Frederiksen (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)
Peter Frederiksen (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Bloemfontein - The pre-trial hearing of the alleged genital mutilator of Bloemfontein Peter Frederiksen hit an obstacle on Tuesday morning.

The former gun shop owner is ready to once again apply for legal representation through Legal Aid South Africa.

The Danish national had legal aid counsel earlier but dropped it in favour of private representation.

Frederiksen faces 59 charges, including assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, possession of unregistered medicine, distribution and possession of child pornography, conspiracy to murder, and bigamy. He also faces charges relating to possession of illegal firearms.

On Tuesday Free State Judge Cagney Musi told Frederiksen the legal system had been lenient on him so far. The judge said the matter had reached a point where a decision on legal representation had to be made.

The accused had been battling to make arrangements for his legal representation since early 2016 and has had various counsel representing him withdraw soon after they had been engaged.

"You must find a solution," Musi told Frederiksen, who indicated at the last sitting that he would represent himself. Musi in an exchange with Frederiksen on his situation told the accused that the legal system in South Africa promises him a proper and fair trial but that it would be wise for him to get proper legal representation because it might be a difficult and intricate trial.

"Then, I must probably apply again for legal aid," Frederiksen told the court.

'Get your act together'

The State told the court that Frederiksen's battle to get enough money for private representation had been an issue since his bail application and would probably not be solved soon.

Musi and Frederiksen expressed concern that the pre-trial hearing had dragged on for too long ahead of the criminal trial scheduled to start on May 8.

"I will be happy to start on 8 May," Frederiksen said.

"That will depend on you [Frederiksen]. You and your legal representative must get your act together then we can start on 8 May," said Musi.

Asked when he will apply for legal aid, Frederiksen's answer was: "Whenever".

"Whenever is now," Musi told Frederiksen.

The judge stood the matter down for about two hours for Frederiksen to re-apply to legal aid for help.

When the court resumed later it was told that Frederiksen had filled out papers and that the legal aid application proceedings are ready to start.

Musi told Frederiksen that he expects a clear answer from him on Monday, March 13, about what he wants.

"You must say legal aid or private representation."

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