THE sentencing of a 32-year-old man, Keelan Simons, who pleaded guilty to committing a robbery spree in the city last year, was postponed yesterday for the defence to call witnesses in mitigation of sentence.
Simons’s attorney, Nasen Naicker, said Simons wants his wife to give evidence on his behalf, but he had been told that she was reluctant to do so up until yesterday morning.
“I have not been able to consult with her or prepare her for her evidence,” he told regional court magistrate Paul Ableman.
He added that the pastor of a church Simons attends was also not available to give evidence yesterday. Naicker said the charges were serious and involved minimum sentences and that his client would be severely prejudiced if he was not given an opportunity to call witnesses.
State prosecutor Pranisha Kasool objected to the postponement on grounds that Simons should have been prepared to call his witnesses yesterday.
Ableman ruled, however, that the case should be postponed to February 17.
Simons pleaded guilty in December to having robbed five people at various businesses of various sums of money, at gunpoint, over the course of several days late last year. He also pleaded guilty to shooting Sibusiso Makaya with a pellet gun in Chief Albert Luthuli Street on November 21, with the intention of causing him grievous bodily harm.
Simons has a previous conviction for murdering student pizza delivery man Douglas Comrie (19), who was stabbed to death on December 4, 1995.