Accused ditches attorney
Hilton man is accused of assaulting two teenagers
A HILTON man charged with assaulting two teenagers in the area in June this year, yesterday ditched his attorney before his trial could start.
Paul Anthony Dickinson now has to apply for legal aid, yet again.
An attorney was appointed for him a few months ago and he then decided to pay for a private attorney to represent him.
With the trial having been set down to start yesterday, attorney Athin Singh told Pietermaritzburg District Court Magistrate Simo Mgwabi that his services have now been terminated.
Dickinson, who is tall and has a sturdy physique, stood in the dock with his hands behind his back, his fingers moving nervously.
The latest development only happened after Mgwabi turned down an application brought by Singh for the matter to be adjourned.
Singh argued that he needed to apply to the state for certain information he required to prepare for Dickinson’s defence.
State prosecutor Siyabonga Mkhwanazi, however, objected to the adjournment saying that the witnesses, including Mduduzi Mdunge and Simphiwe Mdletshe, who were allegedly assaulted by Dickinson on June 4 in Hilton — were present.
The magistrate said that Dickinson first appeared in court on June 5.
He was then informed of the charges he is facing and he was legally represented.
The matter kept on being postponed for pre-trial issues, added Mgwabi.
A pre-trial conference was held in September.
The purpose was to make sure all the issues, such as documents the defence needed, were sorted out.
The matter was then set down for trial for two days in October.
However, Mgwabi said that it was adjourned at the state’s request and the witnesses were not in court.
He said all the issues should have been dealt with before the matter was set down for trial.
An accused must plead within three months and this has not happened.
Mgwabi ordered that the charges should be put to Dickinson at 11.30 am and that he must plead to them.
However, when this was supposed to happen, Singh withdrew from the case.
Dickinson is charged with two counts of assault for allegedly kicking Mdunge and Mdletshe on June 4 in Hilton.
The men told The Witness at the time that they were walking home from work in the early hours of the morning when a group of white men hurled racial slurs at them, assaulted them and left them on the side of the road “to die”.
They worked at the Pot and Barrel at Rotunda in Cedara.
Residents who witnessed the attack said the teenagers were only attacked by one man.
They said that before they could stop him, the man was pulled away by his two companions.