The Polokwane High Court was set down for trial in the widely publicized murder of two municipality councilors Vaaltyn Kekana and Ralph Kanyane of Mogalakwena municipality in 2019. The accused before court were facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of murder and possession of an illegal firearm.
The Trial was to proceed on 9 October 2023, both the State and Defense (comprising four legal representatives) placed on record that they were ready to proceed with trial. Despite that the trial could not proceed as two Judges had to recuse themselves due to conflict of interest and could not preside over the matter. The Acting Judge President then made special arrangements with the Honorable Judge Patudi to preside over the matter from Wednesday, 11 October 2023. On 11 October 2023, the State and Defense continued to maintain that they are ready to proceed with trial. The State however requested that the matter stand down until 14:00 to afford the State an opportunity to consult with some of its witnesses. The Defense did not object and the matter stood down.
When the court resumed at 14:00 the State informed the Court that new information has come to light which the police intend to investigate, and the State sought a postponement. The Defense objected and counsel for the accused argued for the refusal of granting such a postponement. Our Johan Eksteen representing accused four (4) Tolly Victor Mashamaite argued the prejudice that his client suffers and correctly pointed out that the State at all times maintained that it was ready to proceed with trial and that the time for investigations are over. Moreover, that it is not for the Police to dictate to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) when to put a holt to prosecution, and when to consider evidence. He closed in submitting that it would not be in the interest of justice to grant such a postponement when the State has come with a ‘lame excuse’ for a postponement.
The Honorable Court summarized the arguments of the Defense and found that the delay by the State is unreasonable and that it would not be in the interest of justice to grant such further postponement, the application by State was refused and the charges were accordingly withdrawn against the accused.
This is a huge victory again clearly indicating BDK’s commitment to stand up for their clients rights and insuring that clients received fairness in justice.
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