Defence’s demands slammed in Wandile Bozwana murder trial

The defence counsels for Vusi “Khekhe” Mathibela, 36, Sipho Patrick Hudla, 40, Matamela Robert Mutapa, 46, and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo, 42 – all accused in the murder trial of Wandile Bozwana – have asked the High Court in Pretoria for a signed judgment before sentencing.

The defence wanted a postponement for them and their expert witnesses to consult with their clients after they were granted a J7 (a warrant to bring them in to court) due to “difficulty in consulting with their clients in prison”.

Annelene van den Heever, defence counsel for accused one and two, said they had difficulty consulting with their clients as they were being kept in C-Max prison, where there were people listening in on the conversation.

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“You don’t have confidentiality, you’re sitting with a thick glass between (counsel and client),” Van den Heever said.

“It is a process, you have to enquire ahead of time, you also have to sit and wait for someone to come pick you up, so it is really frustrating.”

She also said they would be presenting a probation officer’s report, a social worker’s report and physiological evidence.

The state prosecutor, advocate Jennifer Cronje, said in respect to the counsel’s inability to consult with their clients, this had not been brought to her attention before.

“The state has not been kept in the loop. I am completely unaware of the application they brought against the department of correctional services,” Cronje told the court.

Accused in Wandile Bozwana murder trial leaves the Pretoria High Court on 4 August 2022. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

“If the defence counsel does not wish to approach me, then I cannot assist them. They have not approached me to arrange the accused to be brought to court.

“I am in the courts regularly that I can just come assist and the accused can be brought here for consultation.”

Cronje said they would also like to request the defence to furbish them with the reports by no later than 16 September this year.

READ MORE: CCTV evidence gets go-ahead in Bozwana murder trial

“I do not want to find myself in the position that on 21 September, the reports are then handed to me because I will not be in a position to proceed.

“This request by the state is simply to avoid further postponements. If the reports are given to the state at the last minute, it could cause a further delay.”

The matter was postponed to 21 and 23 September for sentencing proceedings.

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