Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Advocate withdraws from Boeremag trial

The judge in the Boeremag treason trial on Tuesday urged one of the accused and his legal representative to come to some sort of arrangement after the advocate withdrew from the trial, causing yet a further delay.

Advocate Barry van der Merwe, who represented alleged former Boeremag military commander Tom Vorster, withdrew without giving any reasons.

Vorster admitted that there had been a breakdown in their relationship of trust, but blamed this on the lack of privacy and time for proper consultations.

He insisted that he had to consult with another legal representative to protect his constitutional rights, especially as private conversations were being taped inside the courtroom, even when the court was not sitting.

He complained that he had to consult ”in front of everyone” in the court, which he found ”embarrassing”.

”I’m portrayed as the pig in the tale, but I can assure you that it has never been my intention to delay the trial. I just have to act in my best interest,” Vorster said.

Judge Eben Jordaan urged Vorster and his advocate to reconsider the matter, as the withdrawal at this late stage of the trial, after the state had already closed its case, would have severe implications for everyone involved.

If a new advocate was appointed, he would have to work through a record of over 29 000 pages, but it was more likely that Vorster would be instructed to represent himself, which was not a healthy situation.

”It’s like telling you, you have to go into a Boeing and fly to Heathrow. You just cannot do that,” Judge Jordaan told Vorster.

The judge assured Vorster and his 20 co-accused that he would give them enough time to prepare their defence. He said he would arrange for them to use a private consultation room, if necessary.

The judge said he had also been surprised that the microphones in court kept on recording even if the court was not sitting. Even though he was told that the conversations were not transcribed or listened to, this caused concern, he said.

The trial will continue on Thursday. — Sapa

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

It’s safe to open the beaches, says UPL after chemical...

Agrochemical producer UPL said it has paid R250-million in chemical spill clean-up

Former spy boss Fraser objects to Zondo’s nomination as chief...

The former director general of intelligence’s character assassination of the deputy chief justice is straight out of the Zuma playbook

Special Investigating Unit to oppose efforts to reject Mkhize report

Former health minister Zweli Mkhize seeks relief to declare the SIU’s conduct against him ‘unlawful and unconstitutional

Bird flu outbreak on Dyer Island causing mass deaths

The island hosts the vulnerable African penguins, endangered bank cormorant and roseate tern

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…