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Durban - A Durban High Court judge on Tuesday ordered that the advocate representing a man accused of using an axe to kill four people be investigated for his failure to arrive in court.
Former Blue Bulls player Joseph Ntshongwana's legal representative Themba Mjoli failed to arrive on Monday for his trial.
On Tuesday he again failed to arrive at the Durban High Court, but had a letter delivered to the presiding judge to have the case postponed to after October 14.
Acting Judge Irfaan Khalil, who read the letter out in court, said Mjoli had sufficient time to inform the court of his unavailability.
He said he felt Mjoli had acted “in a manner I consider disrespectful”.
In an email sent to the court on Monday, Mjoli said he was an acting judge presiding over a case that was taking place in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. In that email Mjoli asked for the case to be postponed to Tuesday.
Khalil said Mjoli had known since May that Ntshongwana's trial would be continuing on September 30.
He said the delay in court proceedings was unfair on Ntshongwana, the witnesses called to testify, the public, and court officials.
Khalil adjourned the case to December 17 to set new trial dates for the new year.
Ntshongwana is charged with the murder of Thembelenkosini Cebekhulu in Montclair on March 20, 2011, Paulos Hlongwa two days later, Simon Ngidi the following day, and an unidentified man sometime that week.
All were hacked to death with an axe.
He is accused of kidnapping and raping a woman on November 28, 2010, and of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
He also faces two charges of attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
The woman, who cannot be named, was kidnapped in central Durban and held captive for three days.
Relatives of the victims who were in court were visibly upset by the delay.