The trial of Spanish dentist Mario-César Deus Yela, who is accused of murdering his twin children, failed to get out of the blocks after Spanish interpreters expressed an unwillingness to work for a “pittance”, the Western Cape High Court was told on Monday.
Deus Yela’s attorney, William Booth, said his client had a good grasp of English, but it was not enough to enable him to follow the court proceedings.
“It is not a problem with the actual interpreters, it is the issue of the pittance that is paid,” said Booth.
Judge Mushtak Parker set an interim date of February 4 for Booth and Prosecutor Louise Fiester-Sampson to tell him whether the issue had been resolved. Deus Yela is not required to be present for those proceedings.
With his long hair touching his collar, the slim man stood up briefly to say: “Yes,” when asked if he understood the gist of Monday’s discussions about the interpreter.
From Barcelona in Spain, he is accused of killing his children, Octavia and Maximo, at a Hout Bay holiday complex in April 2017.
His ex-wife, Julia Engelhorn, found her three-year-old children’s bodies in a bedroom after he invited her for lunch.
When she arrived, he allegedly told her he had killed the twins. A third child was at school at the time.
It is alleged that he threatened to stab Engelhorn, but that she escaped and ran to a security guard for help.
He faces charges of murder and attempted murder. He also faces a vehicle theft charge for allegedly taking her Toyota Prado.
Deus Yela will remain in custody until the new trial date of April 29.
“I don’t expect you to sort out the payment, but I expect you to be a pain in the neck and nag,” Parker said over the interpreter issue.
“Do something proactive about it. It is no use just blaming the purse. The bottom line is your client ain’t going to get a fair trial if the interpretation isn’t sorted out,” Parker added.
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