Dr Swanepoel was a short, chubby man. On the outside, he seemed friendly, but on the inside he was hard. Once he had made up his mind, he stuck with his decision.
He wore his natty suit well. It bore a number of close vertical lines on a darkish navy-blue background, diminishing his shortness. He wore a matching hat, too, which he claimed added an inch to his height.
The doctor was at the High Court in Eshowe for the fourth time.
“Come in, doctor,” said the plain lady assistant outside the courtroom.
Dr Swanepoel took off his hat and he entered the courtroom.
When it was his turn to address the court, he stood up: “The defendant and the deceased quarrelled. The accused struck the deceased multiple times with a piece of wood on the top of the head. The deceased fell unconscious and then briefly regained consciousness.”
“Some time later, the accused returned and struck the deceased again with the pipe. According to the medical evidence, the deceased suffered a severe fracture to the skull, resulting in the damage to the brain and causing her death.”
“With regard to the weight of the pipe, Exhibit A, it is my opinion that considerable force and a real effort must have been used to bring about the result described.”
“What seems to have started off as a comparatively normal domestic quarrel between the accused and his wife, ended up in an almost inconceivably brutal assault on his wife, resulting in her death.”
“During the course of the struggle, the deceased, probably defending herself, struck the accused with a piece of wood. He returned the repeated blows with that same piece of wood.” He pointed to Exhibit B.
“This is a time to adjourn the court until next week, Tuesday,” Judge Riebeek pronounced. He made it clear that Dr Swanepoel should be present.