Judge nixes accused’s guilty plea

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Cape Town - A Western Cape High Court judge has rejected a Belhar man’s guilty plea because he failed to set out exactly how he allegedly killed 39-year-old Shahieda Kruger with a pot plant.

Judge Robert Henney was tasked with hearing 21-year-old Lorenzo Botha’s plea in the high court on Tuesday.

But after listening to the plea Judge Henney was not satisfied that Botha had met all the requirements for his admission of guilt to be accepted.

In the plea, Botha said he should have foreseen that his actions would cause Kruger’s death, instead of saying that his actions had in fact led to her death.

Judge Henney rejected the plea saying he wanted the State to present evidence and prove its case.

It is the State’s case that Botha struck Kruger twice over the head with a pot plant on July 18 in her Belhar home.

Botha was known to the family and had worked for Kruger’s husband, Dean, as a carpenter and did other odd jobs at his business and around the Belhar house.

After his arrest Botha was charged with murder and aggravated robbery for allegedly taking an unknown amount of money from the couple’s safe.

Judge Henney said on Tuesday he needed to know more about the alleged robbery adding that the State “shot itself in the foot” by withdrawing the robbery charge minutes before Botha pleaded guilty.

“The court isn’t satisfied that the accused showed all the elements regarding his guilt. A plea of not guilty is noted.

“I have a problem with the intention and for certainty the court must hear evidence and make a proper finding and establish the guilt of the accused,” Judge Henney said.

Prosecutor Samantha Raphels said the State would call three witnesses in support of its case.

Botha is due back in court today when the State was set to call its first witness.

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Cape Argus

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