Humansdorp man bemoans ‘horrible’ prison, trial delay, writes Kathryn Kimberley
A man accused of murdering his wife in Humansdorp in June last year took the stand in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Friday, pleading poor prison conditions and a delay to his trial as he tried his hand at his third bid for bail.
He will hear his fate on Monday.
The 40-year-old former municipal employee, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of his vulnerable children, feared he would be prejudiced due to the trial judge falling ill.
His trial started earlier this year but was delayed after Judge Phakamisa Tshiki was booked off sick indefinitely.
Defence Advocate Johan van der Spuy said yesterday that they were not even sure if the murder trial would proceed when court resumed next year.
“We don’t know if Judge Tshiki will ever be available and we also don’t know if the trial will have to start [all over again],” Van der Spuy said.
State advocate Jason Thysse opposed the application for bail based on new facts.
The man said he had already spent a year and a half in custody at St Albans Prison.
“It’s not a place to be. It is horrible. There is fighting and swearing, I’ve never been in such a place before.”
The man is accused of murdering his 36-year-old estranged wife a month after she obtained a protection order against him.
It is alleged he beat her beyond recognition and then stabbed their 16-year-old son with a knife when he tried to intervene.
The boy is one of four witnesses who have already testified in the trial.
The man said yesterday that he was under tremendous stress and suffered from high-blood pressure and insomnia, for which he required treatment.
He said if he was released on bail, he would stay with his parents, who were “strict” and senior members of the church.
He also promised that he would not make contact with his children or endanger them in any way.
“I would never place my children’s lives at risk, they are too precious to me.”
He added that if they, however, wanted to reach out to him, they could do so through the social worker.
As for the community, he said everyone had been shocked when he was arrested and believed in his innocence.
His previous two bail applications failed.
Thysse, meanwhile, said one of the charges was that the accused allegedly stabbed his own child.
“You say you won’t hurt your children, yet one of the allegations is that you hurt your own child by stabbing him,” Thysse said.
The man responded that he had not yet been given an opportunity to tell his side of the story.
Judgment was postponed to Monday.