Del Vecchio, Bibi Fatima Patel and Musa Ahmed Jackson meet at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban.

  • Murder trial c British couple Rodney and Dr Rachel May Saunders have been postponed.
  • Two of the defendants asked for time to consult with their counsel on the testimony of 67 witnesses to be called to testify.
  • The court warned that further delays would not be allowed.

The trial of the murder of British couple Rodney and Dr. Rachel May Saunders has failed another time after the defense asked for more time for consultations.

Bulelani Mazomba, representing Aslama Del Vecchia and Fatima Patel, has asked to postpone it for the second day in a row – this time so he can consult with them about 67 witnesses to be called to testify.

“They are [Patel and Del Vecchio] instructed that they want me to go with them [through] every statement of witnesses so that they can take notes and review what witnesses say, ”Mazomba told the court.

READ | Accused “intimidated by tense security presence” when they are involved in the murder of a British couple in KZN

Consultation

Judge Charmaine Balton granted the request, but warned Mazomba that this was the last time she agreed to a postponement.

“It simply came to our notice then [more time] yesterday and earlier. Accused [are] are given to have an office or premises. All you need are three chairs and two tables, but that’s it [the further consultation] should happen today, ”Baltan said.

Baltan added:

We are wasting a lot of time and this business must continue. I need you to be ready to start tomorrow.

She added that it is unknown whether all 67 witnesses will be called to testify.

“They need to consult who is the more important witness. I don’t know which aspects of the case we’re starting with. Clarify with [senior prosecutor Mahen] I will find. This is impossible [for them] to cover 67 witnesses. They need to understand that they have been in custody for a long time, ”she added.

Del Vecchio and Patel have been in custody since their arrest on February 15, 2018. Their co-accused Musa Jackson has been in custody since March 23, 2018.

Charges

Del Vecchio and Patel have previously been accused of links to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS).

Rodney and Dr. Rachel May Saunders were killed in Ashew, KwaZulu-Natal, after they were abducted near the Bean Dam in Wreheide on February 12, 2018.

It is clear that the couple, who ran a seed company in Cape Town, was looking for a rare flowering plant. They left Cape Town on February 5, 2018 to make a documentary in the Northern Free State.

The last time they spoke to one of their staff was on February 8, 2018, when they indicated they would be located near the Bivane Dam.

A police investigation into their recent movements revealed that they left the Bivan Dam on February 9, 2018 and moved to various forests in the area south of the dam.

Their abduction hit the headlines in the UK, and several publications reported that they feared the couple had been abducted by ISIS.

On February 15, 2018, Del Vecchio and Patel were arrested in Endlavin.

Dr. Saunders ‘body was found on February 14, 2018 in the Tugela River, and Rodney Saunders’ body was found in the Tugela River on February 17, 2018.

The trial is set to begin on Wednesday.


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