A judge has issued a stern warning to murder accused Najwa Petersen after being informed yesterday that she had dismissed her advocate when she was about to start presenting her case for a not guilty ruling.
"We can't be held to ransom by the whims of one accused," Cape high court judge Siraj Desai said.
Najwa's move followed reports that her family was struggling to pay legal bills approaching the R3 million mark.
Senior counsel Klaus von Lieres was the third advocate to represent Najwa since her arrest last year on a charge of killing her entertainer husband Taliep.
At the start of proceedings yesterday Von Lieres told Desai: "My mandate in this matter was terminated last Friday and under the circumstances I request leave to withdraw."
He said his instructing attorney, Reaz Khan, had right of appearance in the high court and would take over the case.
Desai asked Von Lieres whether he was withdrawing for "lack of instructions", a euphemism for lack of funds.
"Yes ... lack of instructions," replied Von Lieres. - Sapa