File Photo: Clyde Robinson

Durban - An oThongathi man convicted of conspiring to kill his girlfriend was on Wednesday accused of “playing games” after firing his legal counsel shortly before arguments could begin for his sentencing in the Durban High Court.

Loganathan Naicker, a former security company boss, was convicted in January.

He and Pillay were in a relationship and living together when, in May 2008, Naicker decided Pillay had to be killed and approached two men, Sandile Ncube and Mbongeni Mbatha, to carry out his plan for a cash reward.

The two men had accosted Pillay at her home in Ottawa, near Verulam, on May 21, 2008, and drove away with her in her Toyota Tazz.

They took her to sugar cane fields nearby where she was shot dead. The vehicle was later found abandoned.

Her body was found the next day.

Ncube had turned State witness and Mbatha had since died.

Naicker’s counsel, advocate Melvin Govender, who was instructed by Legal Aid South Africa, told Judge King Ndlovu on Wednesday that his services had been terminated that morning and Naicker had instructed a private attorney.

State advocate Noxolo Dube objected to Govender’s application to withdraw, saying the State and its witnesses would be prejudiced, including Pillay’s parents and siblings, who had regularly attended the trial and wanted closure.

Dube argued that this was the third legal counsel for Naicker, and accused him of “playing games”.

Naicker told the court his mother, Selvie, had raised the funds that morning and was fine with the matter being adjourned so that his new counsel could prepare for sentencing.

Judge Ndlovu agreed to the adjournment until next week.

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