Axe murder accused fit to stand trial

2011-08-25 13:52
Former Blue Bulls flanker Phindile Ntshongwana is fit to stand trial, the Durban Magistrates Court heard today.

“The doctors who examined him have concluded that he is fit to stand trial,” State prosecutor Shayna Naidoo told the court.

Ntshongwana, who is accused of axing three people to death in Lamontville earlier this year, was sent for mental assessment after his father Liston told the court his son had psychiatric problems.

Liston, a former diplomat and businessman, said his son had been treated and counselled at a number of hospitals including the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

In June, a decision was taken to admit him to the Fort Napier Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, where he was assessed by a state psychologist and a private psychiatrist.

Their report would be forwarded to the director of public prosecutions for a decision, the court heard.

There were scenes of joy among the relatives and friends of his alleged victims when they court announced that he had been found fit.

Unlike his previous appearances, Ntshongwana was clean and composed in court today. He nodded when the magistrate spoke to him.

In an appearance in April, Ntshongwana clutched a Bible and spoke gibberish as he pushed the police officers who accompanied him to the dock. He was allowed to leave the court.

His court appearances are always attended by scores of people who also picket outside the court.

Today, the crowd outside the court shouted at a woman believed to be his sister, who was accompanied by two smartly dressed men believed to be guards.

Ntshongwana will appear in court again on September 27.