Court keeps indecisive teen locked up

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Copy of ca p4 School Violence spes bona DONE DAVID RITCHIE FILE PHOTO: Pupils and staff outside the gates of Spes Bona High School where Glenrico Martin was gunned down. PICTURE: DAVID RITCHIE

Cape Town - A teenager accused of murder will remain in custody until he decides on his legal representation, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Friday.

He has had since mid-April to decide whether he wants free legal aid or a privately-funded lawyer but has yet to decide.

Jevon Snyman, 19, is accused of shooting dead Cape Town school pupil Glenrico Martin in May last year.

His co-accused, Wilston Stoffels, was recently jailed for 24 years in a plea-bargain hearing before Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

Snyman was to have gone the plea-bargain route as well, but at the last minute declined the procedure, compelling his then privately-funded lawyer William da Grass to withdraw.

At Hlophe's request, prosecutor Mziwanele Jaxa explained to Snyman at length the need for him to decide urgently whether he wanted free or privately-funded legal representation.

This happened after the April proceedings, when Jaxa consulted Snyman in the holding cells.

Snyman was supposed to inform the court on Friday, at a pre-trial conference, of his decision but, instead, said he had not yet decided.

Legal Aid lawyer Russell Cloete confirmed that Snyman had not yet approached him.

Hlophe told Snyman: “Your trial must start, you cannot keep delaying it.”

Snyman said he had been in touch with the legal aid authorities, which he obviously had not.

Hlophe responded: “Take him back to Pollsmoor Prison.”

The sooner Snyman made up his mind, the better for him.

“Snyman may well even be acquitted, but if he wants to remain in prison, so be it,” he said.

“It’s his constitutional right to be in Pollsmoor.”

Both Jaxa and Cloete suggested Snyman be given an extra two months to decide.

In Stoffels’s proceedings, Stoffels told the court that he and Snyman had belonged to a criminal gang, the Young Americans.

Stoffels said they were ordered by senior gang members to kill Martin because he was a member of a rival gang.

Stoffels said they went to the Spes Bona Secondary School in Athlone, which Martin attended, on May 15 last year with a loaded firearm.

They were at the school when they saw Martin get out of a taxi, and Stoffels fired a single shot that hit Martin in the head, Stoffels said.

Sapa



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