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Pretoria - Somali pirate kidnap survivor Debbie Calitz cannot afford the lawyer defending her on drugs charges, the Hatfield District Court, in Pretoria, heard on Wednesday.
Calitz told Magistrate Kenneth Chauke she was parting ways with attorney Latham Dixon.
“I cannot afford to pay him. I would want time to get another lawyer,” she said.
Chauke responded: “Ma’am, we do not have time. You have the right to have the lawyer of your choice. If you cannot afford, then get lawyers from Legal Aid.
“You cannot hold this court at ransom by saying I will get a lawyer up until December,” said Chauke, who postponed the matter to February 22.
He said if investigations were not concluded by February, the matter would be struck off the court roll.
Calitz promised to have a lawyer at her next appearance.
She appeared on Wednesday with eight people, including her children Kerri-Ann and Jason Cross.
The other accused are Donovan Coles, Nicolas Fourie, Matthew Beukes, Zane Coles, Jarryd Lottering and Timothy Lombard. Most were represented by attorney Peter Jay.
Calitz made headlines when she returned to South Africa last year after being kidnapped by Somali pirates. She and her former long-term partner Bruno Pelizzari were released from captivity after being held for nearly two years.
The couple was captured while sailing a yacht from Kenya to South Africa.
Last year, Calitz released a book about her ordeal titled “Debbie Calitz: 20 Months in Hostage Hell”. - Sapa