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Johannesburg - The 14-year-old boy accused of murdering his family with an axe is fit to stand trial, according to his Legal Aid SA representative.
“He told me he’s in good health,” Leila Bhamjee said at the Benoni Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where the teenager appeared. “Physically and emotionally, he said he’s fine. He is able to stand trial.”
The media were barred from watching court proceedings because the boy is a minor, and the case was postponed until September 26 for final investigations.
The boy was arrested on May 24 in the Barcelona informal settlement in Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni, after he was believed to have killed his mother, five-year-old brother and three-month-old sister with an axe while they slept.
His 11-year-old twin cousins escaped unharmed as the teenager allegedly went on to assault his grandmother. She died in hospital a week later.
Bhamjee said investigators were still waiting for the result of the grandmother’s post-mortem and for the State to assess whether the twins are psychologically fit to give evidence when the trial begins.
Meanwhile, an aunt has offered to act as the boy’s guardian in court. Bhamjee said she could not provide more details about the relative due to the sensitivity around the boy’s age.
“She’s the first family we’ve seen, and nobody else has approached us,” she said.
Bhamjee said the responsibility of a guardian in court was to observe proceedings and ensure the minor was not interfered with in any way.
The teenager has already undergone psychiatric evaluation and is now being kept at a secret place of safety.
Senior State prosecutor December Mthimunye said it was unclear at this stage whether the trial would go to a high court or a regional court as they were still waiting for the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision on the matter.