Zimbabwean murder accused throws tantrum in SA court

31/01/2014 NEWS COURT/ ANGLO CASE ARCHIVE Court 19 at the at the Dublin Central Criminal Court where former executive of Anglo, Sean Fitzpatrick, Pat Wheland and William Mc Ateer are to appear in the trial to be heard by Judge Martin Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Port Elizabeth – A Zimbabwean national accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend in a fit of rage, defiantly refused to leave a correctional services vehicle used to transport him to his case before the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday.

Describing a scene of commotion, court officials said that Trust Tofa, 30, rolled up his sleeves in aggression and refused to leave the vehicle to appear before Judge Irma Schoeman.

Schoeman then sent a court orderly to call Tofa’s name out three times in the court corridor to no avail. She then instructed the court orderly to go back to the van to ask Tofa to make his appearance.

Tofa then told the court orderly that he first wanted to have a cigarette. Court adjourned for the second time round to allow Tofa time to smoke his cigarette.

When he finally made it to the prison holding cells, Tofa again became resistant with court officials pleading with him to stand in the dock.

A Zimbabwean national accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend in a fit of rage, defiantly refused to appear before the Port Elizabeth High Court for his case on Monday. MEDIA: Raahil Sain/ANA

It became apparent that Tofa was unhappy about the people sitting in the court public gallery as he could be heard boldly arguing with court staff.

When Schoeman entered court, Tofa refused to stand before her and requested through interpreter, Shelton Chiyangwa, that the judge have the public in the gallery removed.

“It is an open court and I cannot clear the court. Trials and postponements are conducted in an open court,” said Schoeman.

Tofa, who spoke standing at the stairs just below the dock, argued that he was not willing to make his way up because of the journalists who were present. Tofa claimed that the media had published lies about him in the past.

Schoeman ordered that a warrant of arrest be issued, however, Tofa said that he would continue to stay away if conditions remained the same.

The State alleges that in November last year, Tofa went to the house of his ex-girlfriend, Siphokazi Sidina, armed with an iron rod and a knife.

According to the State, Tofa kicked down the door and assaulted his ex- girlfriend while she was asleep. He allegedly slapped and pushed her against the hall. Tofa then allegedly turned to Sidina’s boyfriend, Godfrey Kumire, and allegedly assaulted him with an iron rod.

The indictment reads that another woman in the house, Phelisa Nana, tried to intervene but Tofa allegedly drew out a knife and stabbed her.

According to the State, while Tofa continued to assault Kumire, Nana came back and threw boiling water on Tofa.

In a culmination of events, Tofa allegedly took Sidina against her will to a shack in Motherwell, where he raped her twice.

He is facing charges of murder, housebreaking, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and rape.

The case against him was postponed until October 10 for trial.

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