Cameras, glitz, laughter at trial

2010-12-19 11:43

It is a serious case involving the deaths of four school children ­during a drag race in March this year.

But this week the murder trial of singer Molemo Maarohanye, aka Jub Jub, brought more ripples of laughter than tears to the packed Soweto court.

Proceedings in Court Six at the Protea Magistrates Court got ­under way at 9.40am on Monday, following a drama that has ­become part of the script in the trial.

Accused No.?1, Maarohanye ­arrived with an entourage of elders and girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, at 9.28am to be met by an eager pack of press and TV crew.

The dozen or so photographers had camped outside the courtroom since 8.30am that morning, waiting for their man.

The lensmen didn’t seem to care about accused No?2, Themba Tshabalala, who arrived a few minutes earlier.

The photographers went into ­action the minute Jub Jub appeared in the corridor walking towards the courtroom.

Like a mob carrying out people’s justice on a defenceless man, they clicked, pushed and jostled, with some literally shoving their lenses into Jub Jub’s face.

The frenzy didn’t end when Jub Jub took his place on a bench in the courtroom either.

Instead, everyone moved about, taking aim, trying to find the angle that would produce the best shot.

Jub Jub took it all in his stride, looking straight ahead and not ­saying a word.

This perhaps explained why Khumalo, even though the sun did not shine that day, ­never took off her windscreen-like shades.

“Ijo! I have never attended such a court case before,” quipped a woman seemingly perplexed by the drama.

Jub Jub and Tshabalala sat apart like strangers, not even exchanging glances.

Tshabalala, in a checked mustard jacket, sat upright looking ahead.

Jub Jub, arguably the best-dressed man in the packed courtroom, sat with his head bowed, swaying gently.

The public was treated to a two-hour sparring match between Jub Jub’s lawyer Ike Motloung and ­Johannesburg Metro police officer Constable Gideon Maseko.

Ripples of suppressed laughter often swept through the court as Maseko and Motloung went ­head-to-head, much to the annoyance of the court orderlies.

“This is a courtroom. Why are you people laughing? I will have to throw you out if you continue with this,” an orderly remonstrated.

But who could blame the public, in light of the exchanges between Maseko, Motloung and Tshabalala’s lawyer Mlungiseleli Sovithi during cross-examination?

Motloung hit out at Maseko: ­“Answer my questions.”

Maseko: “I have been answering you since Monday. I don’t know what it is you want now because I have been saying the same thing. I will be happy if you don’t repeat the same question a 100 times.”

Laughter?...

Motloung: “I’ve got no time to play, not today.”

Maseko: “Who is playing?”

Motloung: “You are trying to mislead the court.”

Maseko: “Why should I mislead the court?”

Maseko testified that both the accused’s eyes appeared stoned-red on the day of the accident which suggested they could be ­under the influence of substances.

The lawyers took Maseko on.

Sovithi: “Look at accused No.?2’s eyes.”

Maseko: “I am looking at them.”

Sovithi: “Are they different from the day of the accident?”

Maseko: “I am saying the eyes were red.”

Sovithi: “I am saying the eyes are the same as on that day.”

Maseko: “I am talking about what I saw. We can’t see things the same way?...”

Laughter?...

And when the court was ­adjourned after Maseko’s stint in the witness stand, the orderly took a swipe at the audience.

“This is a serious matter. Why are you laughing? This is the kind of behaviour that leads to magistrates throwing everyone out of court.”


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