Bridge crash trial delayed - again

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Koobashan Naicker INLSA Koobashan Naicker. Picture: Zanele Zulu

“The accused is holding this court to ransom”.

This was the comment by angry state advocate Cheryl Naidu in the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday when murder accused Koobashan Naicker asked the court to be given time to find a fourth lawyer to represent him.

This came as Naicker’s third lawyer, Leo Govender, cited lack of instruction from his client as the reason he was withdrawing from the case.

Dubbed the “crash-bridge lawyer” Koobashan Naicker whose licence was suspended following an accident which claimed three lives on Athlone Bridge in March last year, appeared in court yesterday for a bail inquiry into whether he has broken his bail conditions by driving a vehicle.

Naicker was charged with three counts of murder and drunk driving, alternatively reckless and negligent driving, in connection with the crash and deaths of Gillian Bell, 32; her son, Connor, eight, and dancer Carmen Hunter, 19, and was granted bail of R10 000 on condition that he surrender his driver’s licence and not drive.

But the case has been postponed on numerous occasions. In a previous hearing, the State put forward that the investigating officer had affidavits and photographs from witnesses who claimed Naicker had been driving.

A date was set down for a bail inquiry, but again Naicker’s lawyer withdrew from the case and Naicker said he had been in a rehabilitation centre for two weeks during June.

When he asked for time to find a new representation, State advocate Naidu said the accused “understood how the law works” and that “it is patently clear the accused is delaying this matter”.

Magistrate Anita Govender said that every accused person had the right to a fair trial and granted a postponement of the case until July 12.

Witnesses who claim to have seen Naicker driving a vehicle and transporting children were waiting patiently to give evidence, only to be told the case had been postponed.

Naicker remains out on bail and will appear again next week.

Independent on Saturday

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