But things got off to a rocky start for 40-year-old Lloyd Dube Simbarashe, whose private attorney withdrew from the case.
Advocate Johan Solomons, who managed his client’s pre-trial hearings, did not give reasons for his withdrawal in court, only saying: “I am withdrawing as defense for my client and he will need time to find new representation. As agreed with the prosecutor, we will postpone for two weeks to give him time to get a new lawyer.”
Prosecutor Mbulelo Koti concurred.
A source told the Daily Voice the advocate was gatvol of his client’s refusal to speak to him about the case.
Simbarashe, a Zimbabwean, had allegedly killed his girlfriend, Nikita Lewis, by stabbing her 20 times in front of witnesses.
On Monday, Simbarashe was serious and looked daggers at anyone who made eye contact. He shuffled into court in chains, accompanied by one police officer and four correctional services officers.
He was led to the dock, where he conferred via a translator with his attorney.
Nikita, 24, had gone on the run in 2015 after Simbarashe flungh acid in her face.
He allegedly also assaulted her mother, Bonita, and her grandmother, breaking the ouma’s wrist trying to get them to give up her location.
He found her on 9 October 2015 at the Saartjie Baartman Centre and waited for her outside a supermarket on Klipfontein Road in Athlone.
Nikita tried to fight off her attacker, and was stabbed in the chest.
The case resumes on 19 February.