The defence in the trial of Sandile Mantsoe, who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Karabo Mokoena, made an unexpected move on Monday and closed its case without calling any witnesses to testify.
Mantsoe’s lawyer, Victor Simelane, did not give reasons to the court for the decision.
“Is he aware that he could be sentenced to life imprisonment?” Acting Judge Peet Johnson asked.
Mantsoe, who appeared calm during proceedings in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, said he was.
Speaking on the sidelines during a short adjournment, Simelane told reporters that the State had not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and therefore, “we are not going to help them”.
The parties will now prepare for oral arguments which they will deliver on Wednesday.
Johnson said he would deliver his judgment on the same day.
“I just want to place on record that the parties did visit me in chambers. The prosecutor has now convinced me that she is not able to address the court today,” Johnson said.
ACCUSED CLAIMS ABUSE
Mokoena’s charred remains were found by a passer-by in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg on April 29, 2017.
Mantsoe has painted Mokoena as a violent person who was “addicted” to the high life.
In a statement read out in court previously, Mantsoe claimed Mokoena used to beat him up and that she had become angry and depressed after she was raped by the friend of a former lover. He also alleged that Mokoena used to cut herself, and that her sister had witnessed it.
Mantsoe faces charges of premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice.
He has also been charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm for allegedly assaulting Mokoena on March 27, 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Mantsoe, a married father of three, had reportedly been in a romantic relationship with Mokoena since October 2016. It is believed that he and his wife were estranged.
The accused has denied killing Mokoena but, during his bail application, he said he disposed of her body after he came home and found that she had committed suicide.