Ricochet News

Murder trial of Zimbabwean man to start even without him, Judge puts foot down

By Afikile Lugunya - May 2, 2018
Murder trial of Zimbabwean man to start even without him, Judge puts foot down

The trial of a Zimbabwean man, who allegedly raped his ex-girlfriend and brutally murdered her boyfriend is now expected to start in the Port Elizabeth High Court next week.

Trust Tofa, who has been refusing to cooperate with the court on several instances, again refused to appear before Judge Jannie Elasteen on Wednesday.

Advocate Chris Nel, Tofa's legal representative, appeared before Judge Elasteen, who suggested that the defence informs their client that it is in his best interest that he comes before the court in order to defend himself.

Adv. Nel said that he had tried his best, but his client was not budging.

The Court heard that Tofa once demanded that he must only be fetched from the St Albans Correctional Facility, where he is being held, to the Port Elizabeth High Court by black prison warders. While the court gave in to his demands as well as for a Shona court interpreter, he has still chosen not to cooperate with the court.

On a previous court appearance, Tofa also asked that the Judge clears the public gallery as he did not want anyone to take photos of him.

Perhaps having had enough, Judge Elasteen on Wednesday decided to put his foot down and advised Advocate Nel to explain to Tofa that the trial will now continue with or without his presence in the courtroom.

How it happened:

It is the State's case that in November 2016, Tofa went to his ex-girlfriend's home in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, armed with an iron rod and a knife and allegedly kicked down her front door.

He allegedly then assaulted her after finding her asleep before turning on her new boyfriend, Godfrey Kumire, whom he also brutally assaulted with the iron rod.

Tofa apparently stabbed another female occupant in the house, before he dragged his ex-girlfriend to a shack where he allegedly raped her twice.

Kumire died from injuries sustained during the brutal assault.

Tofa was arrested for murder, housebreaking, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and rape.

During a previous court appearance, he had a lengthy argument with Judge Mandela Makaula demanding that the Judge orders that he be unchained after he appeared before the court in leg irons, waist chains and handcuffs.

Tofa also demanded that he be extradited back to Zimbabwe, where he claimed he will not be treated like an animal.

He has already fired two of his defence attorneys.