Boeremag trial hits another snag

The Boeremag treason trial has hit another snag, which may see even more tax money spent on the defence of the accused.

The Legal Aid Board said on Monday the trial had so far cost it R20 424 817, making this the most expensive trial the organisation
had funded to date.

On Monday, after more than two months in the witness stand, alleged Boeremag leader Tom Vorster told the court he would not testify any further.

He said he “would no longer tolerate” the “unacceptable behaviour” of the state and the correctional services department towards him.

The trial of the 21 treason accused—who pleaded not guilty to 42 charges including sabotage, murder and attempted murder—has been running for almost six years.

Senior prosecutor Paul Fick SC confirmed the trial has on average sat about an hour per day since Vorster took the stand in February this year to testify in his own defence.

Vorster has been involved in a heated verbal sparring match with Fick in the past few weeks, which saw him accusing the senior prosecutor of “lying” and being “malicious”.

He even told off Fick for “being fat”—to which the prosecutor complained to the court that Vorster was becoming “absurd and vulgar”.

His complaints that he was not feeling well, or at times that he was “so angry” with Fick that he could not continue testifying, had resulted in the trial being postponed several times.

Vorster was aggrieved after the state opposed his urgent application to be allowed to attend his sister’s funeral last week, resulting in his urgent application being turned down and “his whole family being prejudiced”.

He also complained about the conditions of his incarceration in Pretoria’s C-Max Prison.

He said the way in which his wife was searched when she visited him was akin to “indecent assault” and complained that he was not allowed to have contact visits or to consult with witnesses in jail.

Vorster accused Fick of being “vindictive”. He said the state was “abusing” him and his fellow accused, correctional services was waging a “psychological war” against them, yet the state demanded his full cooperation.

Judge Eben Jordaan warned him that he was acting over-hastily and postponed the trial for a further day so that Vorster could consult with his advocate and consider the consequences of his
decision.

The Legal Aid Board said it would continue granting legal aid to the 21 accused until the matter was finalised.

Vorster has featured prominently in the evidence of numerous of the state’s more than 300 witnesses, one of whom accused him of being a “police agent”—claims both he and the state denied.

In February this year two of his fellow accused, brothers Johan and Wilhelm Pretorius, admitted their involvement in a series of bomb blasts.

They, however, insisted they were “freedom fighters for the Boer nation” and had acted on the instructions of Vorster, whom they said was their commanding officer. - Sapa

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