Mpumalanga farm attack murder trial postponed again

The murder trial of three men accused of killing Brit expat Sue Howarth, has been postponed for the umpteenth time.

The High Court, sitting in Breyten, Mpumalanga, on Monday, heard that the Yika brothers, Nkhosinathi and William, had no legal representative present and that the trial could thus not continue.

Sue Howarth was murdered in February 2017 after she and her husband Robert Lynn were attacked on their farm Marchlands, outside Dullstroom, reports Middelburg Observer.

The case against the Yika brothers and Lucas Makua, was postponed in high court last year in August when the accused complained about being appointed a Legal Aid practitioner that did not speak their mother tongue.

ALSO READ: One of two victims of Dullstroom farm attack dies

In the nearly six months since their previous postponement, it seems nothing was done to make sure the accused were appointed new legal representation in time for the next trial date.

The Legal Aid advocate present on Monday, TE Muthivhithivhi, told the court that he hadbeen with the Legal Aid offices in Middelburg since mid-January. He went to see the three accused, currently being detained at the Middelburg Correctional Services, on January 15 and again last week Friday.

Claire Taylor and Robert Lynn’s sister Launa Dovey looks on as the three accused are led into the accused bench.

On Friday, it was confirmed there was a conflict of interest after instruction was received from Makua, accused number two in the matter. The Yika brothers thus require a different advocate, whilst Muthivhithivhi will continue representing Makua.

Muthivhithivhi said that he made enquiries with the Legal Aid board on Friday afternoon but that it was too late and no representative was available to represent the remaining two accused on Monday morning.

The state indicated that it was ready to proceed with the trial and that one of its witnesses flew all the way from the United Kingdom to testify. It was mention that a possible conflict of interest was made during the previous court appearance in August 2018.

Left with no choice, the court postponed the matter until next Monday for the appointment of a new legal counsel for the Yika brothers, as well as to determine the next trial date. Lynn, who survived the ordeal wherein his wife was murdered, and is a key witness in the matter, has since moved to the UK to be with his family. He was accompanied to South Africa by his sister. He will now have to return a second time once a new trial date has been set.

Representatives from the British Consulate were also present on Monday.

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