Postponement of trial

There are a number of reasons for a court case to be postponed. The case may be postponed for:

  • the accused to obtain legal representation or legal aid
  • further investigation
  • a bail application
  • witnesses to appear in court
  • the legal representative, in the case that the legal representative is not available on the court date
  • a trial

If the defense lawyer wants to postpone the trial, the prosecutor is approached to arrange for a postponement date. If the state prosecutor has no objection against the postponement, a date will be mutually agreed upon and conveyed to the court when to call the case.

However, if the prosecutor refuses the postponement, application may be made to the court for the postponement. The lawyer will have to provide reasons to the court why postponement should be granted.

In such an application the court must take into consideration the accused’s right to a speedy trial. This application may also be brought by the State in case the State wants to postpone the case and the defence refuses.

If postponement is granted, it also may be recorded in the docket as a final postponement. This means that on the next court date no further application may be made for postponement, and that a trial date has to be set. If the case is still not ready for trial at the next court date, the defense may apply to have the case withdrawn temporarily until the investigation has been completed. The defense may, however, only bring such an application if it was the State that requested the postponement previously.