Ac­cused ditches at­tor­ney

Hil­ton man is ac­cused of as­sault­ing two teenagers

The Witness - - NEWS - SHARIKA REGCHAND

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.

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