Spanish dentist Mario-César Deus Yela, 50, appeared in the Western Cape High Court on Monday on charges of killing his three-year-old twin children, Octavia and Maximo, at a holiday rental apartment in Hout Bay, Cape Town on April 6 last year.
Yela’s ex-wife Julia Engelhorn was also in court, accompanied by the lawyer who represented her during the divorce.
The trial has been postponed several times as the state and defence have been unable to find suitable dates. Defence lawyer William Booth requested a postponement to February 4, 2019, but Judge Vincent Saldanha refused to grant the lengthy postponement.
State prosecutor Louise Friester-Sampson said she was ready for trial, but the court roll had already been set for the fourth term. Booth told the court he wanted to “pursue further discussions” to avoid a lengthy trial.
The possibility of a plea and sentence agreement seems unlikely, however, and Booth requested that the court find a suitable Spanish interpreter for the duration of the trial.
Judge Saldanha said the delays were of “serious concern” to the court.
“The court must reach a decision on whether it goes to trial or not,” he said.
Saldanha stood the matter down until later in the day to give the defence and state time to peruse their diaries and find an alternative earlier trial date.