Accused in Lotter murders consents to evaluation

The lawyer of a man who stands accused of helping a brother and sister murder their parents on Thursday demanded in the Pinetown Regional Court that any confessions be given to him in writing.

Rajendra Nathalal told the court that before making a decision on the application for bail for his client, Mathew Naidoo, he would need any confessions and other written statements from the siblings—Nicolette Lotter (26) and her 20-year old brother, Hardus Lotter.

The trio were in the dock charged with the murder of Johan Lotter (53) and his wife, Magdelena (52), in their Westville home on July 19.

He was bludgeoned and then strangled, while Magdelena was stabbed several times.

The court on Thursday heard that Naidoo had terminated the services of his previous lawyer, Thiagaraj Pillay, and had instead appointed Nathalal.

Nathalal asked that copies of the written statements and confessions be given to him before their next court appearance, so that he could make an informed decision on Naidoo’s application for bail.

Nathalal also consented to a psychiatric evaluation of his client.

“We have no objection to the evaluation, bearing in mind that the evaluation will be conducted by a psychiatrist appointed by the state.
We consent to it provided we have in writing the terms of evaluation,”  he said.

This was to give him assurance that questions asked by the state psychiatrist during the evaluation did not affect the merits of his case.

The case was postponed to August 28 for further investigation and the psychiatric evaluation to be carried out.

At the previous court appearance, attorney for the Lotter siblings Danie Grundlingh said he was concerned about a “trial by media”.

“The defence is concerned about a fair trial. At the moment there is a huge trial by media.”

On Thursday, there was no mention of a “trial by media”.

Until their next appearance, the Lotter siblings would remain in custody at the Westville police cells while Naidoo would be kept at Cato Manor police cells.

The court was packed with media, relatives and friends of the accused, as well as an array of attorneys.

Johan Lotter was the head of the Bayer/Lanxess chemical plant situated in Durban’s Merebank industrial area.—Sapa

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