South Africa

Sutherland opts for plea bargain in husband's murder case

Sutherland opts for plea bargain in husband's murder case
Johannesburg - Michelle Sutherland, a Roodepoort woman in the dock for allegedly killing her husband two years ago, now intends to strike a plea bargain with the State.

The South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, heard that talks were ongoing between the State and defence lawyers for Sutherland, 39, to enter into a guilty plea.

Sutherland was charged for the murder of her 45-year-old husband, Clive Sutherland, on October 24 last year. She allegedly shot him dead at their Roodepoort, West Rand, home.

Clive’s body was found in his car in the garage three days after he sustained a single bullet wound.

The National Prosecuting Authority also added a count of defeating and obstructing the administration of justice to its charges against Sutherland.

In its indictment sheet, which The Star has seen, it is alleged that she did not report her husband’s death.

The full details about how and why Sutherland allegedly killed her husband have not been examined in court. The court previously heard an application to have Sutherland referred for mental observation. Her grounds were that she was not mentally fit to understand trial proceedings.

She was still waiting for a bed at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital. But The Star has gathered that she would no longer go ahead with the application. Nothing was said in court on Tuesday about this application.

Prosecutor Tillana Byker told the court that the case had to be postponed to allow for the guilty plea preparations to unfold.

This process entailed talks between the State and Sutherland’s lawyers, Byker said.

It also required a pre-sentencing report to be written by social workers.

Byker said it was agreed with Sutherland’s lawyers that the case should be postponed to September.