Attorney Thabiso excused from murder, robbery case
MBABANE – Attorney Thabiso Fakudze has been excused from representing Mxolisi Khetha Nkambule with immediate effect.
This follows his non-appearance in court without a formal report having been lodged with Judge Bheki Maphalala.
Maphalala is presiding over the matter where Nkambule and Ntokozo Malinga were charged with murder and robbery.
It was alleged that the duo, on July 22, 2010, while at Mathendele Township, Nhlangano, acting unlawfully and in furtherance of a common purpose, stabbed Sifiso Mndzebele in the chest before they robbed him of items worth E26 000 including his motor vehicle. Mndzebele died at Hlatikhulu Government Hospital while undergoing treatment and Doctor Komma Reddy opined that he died from a stab wound inflicted in his chest.
Both accused pleaded not guilty on both counts when the charge sheet was read out.
Nkambule was represented by Thabiso Fakudze while Lindiwe Ngcamphalala represented Malinga. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo represented the Crown.
The trial began on a high note last week, with the Crown parading two witnesses being Nkosinathi Simelane and Xolile Mhlanga, who was Mndzebele’s girlfriend.
The trial was set to continue yesterday, but Fakudze did not show up.
He was reportedly in another court where he was held up, but no such communication was allegedly conveyed to Judge Maphalala.
Relieving Fakudze of his duties, Judge Maphalala said: "He has disappeared and we do not even have a report of where he is."
Assistant Registrar of the High Court Sabelo Khumalo was summoned to the courtroom where he was told to relieve Fakudze from acting as pro deo counsel for Nkambule. He was ordered to appoint another attorney with immediate effect.
A pro deo counsel is an attorney who is appointed by the Registrar of the High Court to represent an indigent accused who cannot afford the services of an attorney of his own choice. Such arrangement is employed in murder cases where the law makes it mandatory that the accused be represented during trial.
The case will be heard again in the next session of the High Court which begins on September 3, 2012. Judge Maphalala explained to the accused that he will have a new legal representative whom he shall instruct for the continuation of the case.
The new ‘legal eagle’ will have to go through the court record to acquaint himself of what has happened in the case so far.
Judge Maphalala said it was incumbent upon Khumalo to decide if he will ever appoint Fakudze on pro deo basis again. The witness, who had already taken the stand in the witness box, was cautioned to make himself available to the court as and when it needed him.
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