The delay in securing a defence representative led to the trial of former lawyer Senyatsi Lucas Phasha, accused of brutally killing his four young children, being postponed in the Limpopo High Court on Wednesday.
Judge Podu Mdhuli said the case would now be heard from 15 to 19 March 2021.
This was after Mdhuli heard submission for the reasons for the delay in securing a defence representative, who is now advocate Lucky Mkhize.
Mkhize told the court that he worked as a partner in a law firm with Phasha in 1996.
He was telephoned by the mother of the accused, whom he also regarded as his “mother”, to assist when the murder charges arose.
“I was not in a position to get involved in the matter [at that stage],” Mkhize said.
However, he was at a later stage telephoned by the instructing attorneys to assist in the matter.
He said he will now proceed with the matter on a pro bono basis, while Phasha and the instructing attorneys will sort out the legal fees.
The state, represented by advocate Mashudu Mudau, did not oppose the postponement.
Mudau said the records of the case have already been handed over to the accused, except for a video clip and a file of photos.
Phasha stands accused of killing his four young children – aged 3, 5, 7 and 9 – by hacking them with an axe and bludgeoning the youngest with a huge stone in March.
He then allegedly dumped their bodies in a bush in Selatole village in the Sekhukhune district.
Earlier that day, he apparently stopped a minibus, which was transporting the children from school. The minibus driver let the children go with their father because he knew him well.
It’s also understood that Phasha was angry at the mother of his children – his wife, Adel – claiming that she had cheated on him.
He allegedly told the neighbour about the killings and the spots where he left the bodies.
He was arrested after national police commissioner General Khehla Sithole ordered the activation of a 72-hour plan to apprehend the culprit.
Several years ago, Phasha was arrested for firing at his girlfriend after he accused her of cheating. The bullet missed, but struck a neighbour’s child, who died.
He was sentenced to 15 years for the murder, but was released on parole after serving five years.