Odette Barkhuizen
Odette Barkhuizen
George Barkhuizen
George Barkhuizen
Johannesburg - George Barkhuizen, accused of murdering his wife Odette for insurance money, will now be forced to defend himself after a failed attempt this week to end the case prematurely.

Earlier this month, Barkhuizen’s legal team completed its section 174 application at the high court in Joburg, asking Judge Ramarumo Monama to discharge the criminal case against him after the State completed its own arguments.

The application was based on Barkhuizen’s assertions that the State had a weak case, and had failed to prove any of the allegations against him.

But this week Judge Monama put a stop to the application, dismissing it - meaning he believes Barkhuizen’s defence must put forward its own case.

The judge said he would furnish his reasons only after the defence had completed its work at the end of the trial. Barkhuizen’s lawyer, advocate Sita Kolbe, confirmed in court she intended to summon Barkhuizen to the stand to testify.

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This means he will be facing harsh scrutiny under cross-examination by prosecutor Riegal du Toit, who has alleged throughout his case that Barkhuizen had ordered a hit on Odette after taking out three separate life insurance policies and forging her signature to do so.

However, while the defence said it was ready to proceed this week, Du Toit and Kolbe ultimately decided to set down a provisional date of March 5 to ensure both sides were ready for what would likely be one of the most important aspects of the criminal trial.

A Facebook page, '11062015 truth before & after', believed to be curated by Barkhuizen, alleged that while the provisional date was set for March, “it is more probable that the trial will proceed in April and or July of this year”.

George Barkhuizen

Odette’s mother, Pam Immelman, and her husband Stan, who have religiously attended proceedings throughout the lengthy case, appeared relieved it had not come to a premature end this week.

They told the Saturday Star they believed their son-in-law should definitely be expected to answer to the State’s case under oath.

Throughout his marathon trial, Barkhuizen has argued that the theory he had his wife killed was originally provided to the police investigation team by forensic consultant and private investigator Paul O’Sullivan.

The defence said O’Sullivan had been present at key interviews conducted by the State’s defence, including an interview with Barkhuizen himself.

The State has been forced to rely on circumstantial evidence throughout the proceedings, particularly on the testimony of an expert examiner and documents specialist Johannes Hattingh, who said he believed the signatures made on the documents were not authentic.

Saturday Star