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Date set for double murder trial

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Accused manages to secure legal representation

MURDER TRIAL: The trial of murder accussed Richard Hasane, Tshame Frank Baxane, Matthews Legodu, Zonizelo Richard Magawu, Thompson Mncedisi Mphondomisa and Paulus Mveleni Mgcera will start in November after they finally managed to secure legal representation.

THE MURDER trial of the six men accused of killing Danielskuil DA councillor Johannes Baatjies and a family friend, Jeffrey Nouse, is expected to begin in the Northern Cape High Court in November.

This follows after the accused managed to secure legal representation after the services of a previous attorney was terminated in July.

Attorney Leon Francis, who is now representing Richard Hasane, Tshame Frank Baxane and Matthews Legodu, said yesterday that he was still in the process of resolving payment issues.

He informed the court yesterday that the accused’s previous legal representative was owed outstanding legal fees.

“Funding is still in the process of being resolved,” he said.

Francis stated that he was not in a position to say if all the necessary documentation pertaining to the case had been forwarded to him, as yesterday was his first day back at work.

Advocate Roger Kok, who is the legal representative for the other three accused – Zonizelo Richard Magawu, Thompson Mncedisi Mphondomisa and Paulus Mveleni Mgcera – stated that he had not experienced any problems with regards to payment.

He added that any potential conflict of interest would be eliminated following the appointment of Francis to represent the other accused.

Kok advised that while his clients intended bringing a new bail application before the Northern Cape High Court, he was currently focused on a pre-trial motion.

“The bail application will proceed, pending the outcome of the pre-trial motion. We are of the view that prejudice may arise as Francis has not yet received copies of the docket, nor has he discussed it with counsel. I submit that the outcome of the pre-trial motion will have a direct impact on the continuation of the trial,” said Kok.

He added that he had only begun perusing the State’s voluminous evidence.

Senior State advocate Hannes Cloete pointed out that the full docket as well as the State’s investigation had been handed over to the new defence team on July 18.

“Two sets of photo albums were made for both defence teams. As it was a concern as to whether they had received everything, a new set of DVDs was made on July 30. When Mr Kok visited my offices, my understanding was that he would distribute the copies to Mr Francis. I also extended an invitation to the defence to visit our offices if they wished to go through the original docket to make sure that everything has been provided. We also discussed pre-trial issues that could have an impact on the trial,” said Cloete.

Acting Judge Sharon Erasmus postponed the matter until November 13 to 24 and December 4 to 15 for purposes of trial.

She stated that the accused would remain in custody.