Judge Thokozile Masipa this week postponed the trial of Lloyd Maleswena until September, after earlier altering his guilty plea on the murder charge to one of not guilty and noting the withdrawal of his advocate from the trial.
The accused was given time to apply for legal aid to appoint a new advocate to represent him.
Maleswena’s trial initially commenced before Judge Legodi Phatudi, but the judge in May last year declared a mistrial and referred the matter to the Pretoria Bar Council to consider if the advocate who represented Maleswena was fit to practise.
This was after the advocate insisted Maleswena’s “confession” to the police had been made voluntarily, after his client testified that the police had assaulted him.
Members of Maleswena’s congregation apparently called the police after he made a statement about the alleged murder to two of his priests at the ZCC Church’s headquarters in Limpopo.
When Judge Phatudi asked Maleswena’s advocate to address him on the admissibility of his client’s confession and the applicability of section 51(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the advocate said he had “no clue” what the section provided for. He also said he had heard for the first time in cross-examination that Maleswena had been assaulted, but insisted his instructions were to accept the confession and that the accused had not been
Judge Phatudi said the defence advocate had raised issues during the entire proceedings which made his qualification as counsel questionable.
The judge asked for the advocate’s certificate of appearance and found that he was indeed an advocate, but said it was clear he had refuted his client’s instructions and vitiated Maleswena’s right to a fair trial.
Maleswena is accused of the 2011 murder of his girlfriend, Claudia Rapudi, whose body was found in her burning car between Cullinan and Mamelodi.