The Johannesburg lawyer representing one of three men accused of murdering Cape Town lawyer Pete Mihalik says he has received threatening phone calls warning him to stop appearing for his client.
On Tuesday, Jannie Kruger, who represents Vuyile Maliti, said he could not give a definite answer on whether he would continue to represent his client when the trial continued in the Western Cape High Court on February 28.
Kruger said: “I’ve received calls from an unknown person, asking me if I love my family. When I asked the caller, what does he mean, he said: ‘Do what it is best for you and get away from the Mihalik murder trial.’
“I’ve discussed the matter with both my family and legal partners, and we still need to make a decision. If my partners decide we must hand over the matter to another legal firm, then I need to inform the court and hand over the file. For now, I’m still representing Maliti.”
Maliti, along with Sizwe Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo, who don’t have lawyers, are accused of killing Mihalik on October 30, 2018, outside Reddam House school in Green Point as he was dropping off his children.
The three also face charges of attempted murder and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
It is the State’s case that the three intentionally killed Mihalik by shooting him in the head.
In July 2019, when their bail application was denied in the Cape Town Regional Court, evidence was heard that both Biyela and Khumalo had outstanding criminal matters in KwaZulu-Natal and that they were allegedly hitmen for hire in the taxi industry.
According to evidence at the bail hearing, Maliti allegedly persuaded them to travel from KwaZulu-Natal to carry out the hit.
During pre-trial proceedings in the Western Cape High Court in November last year, the prosecution indicated there had been problems in obtaining legal representation for Biyela and Khumalo, and that lawyers in other provinces should be approached.