Lawyer dumps killer

The new lawyer for Christoff Becker, one of the so-called Water-kloof Four convicted of murdering a homeless man, has withdrawn himself from the case for "ethical reasons", it was reported yesterday.

The new lawyer for Christoff Becker, one of the so-called Water-kloof Four convicted of murdering a homeless man, has withdrawn himself from the case for "ethical reasons", it was reported yesterday.

Lawyer Harry Pretorius, who was appointed after Becker fired his previous legal team, told Beeld that his decision to withdraw from the case was based "purely on ethical norms and rules".

Pretorius had lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court on behalf of Becker, who is currently serving a 12-year prison term.

The three other members of the Waterkloof Four gang have also filed an appeal, but they did not change lawyers as Becker did.

"I had a meeting with Christoff's family on Friday and it became clear to me that, for ethical reasons, I could no longer represent Christoff. If I went ahead to represent him, it could create a very serious integrity crisis at a later stage, if the court were to ask me directly why I did not withdraw," said Pretorius.

He did not want to elaborate on the "ethical reasons", saying only that there were "conflicting views" between him and the Beckers.

Christoff's mother, Mariette, said Pretorius' services had been ended because they could no longer afford him, but Pretorius denied that.

In June 2005, Becker, Frikkie du Preez, 23, Gert van Schalkwyk, 22, and Reinach Tiedt, 22, were found guilty of attacking and killing an unidentified man in Moreleta Park and of attacking another unidentified man on the same evening in Constantia, in December 2001.

The four were aged 15 and 16 at the time of the crimes.

After the conviction, Becker fired his legal team, saying they did not follow his instructions.

The Constitutional Court will still consider his appeal because the papers have already been filed, even though Pretorius has withdrawn himself from the case. - Sapa

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