Blue light cop fails in bid for acquittal

2010-10-07 00:00

POLICEMAN Hlanganani Nxumalo (28), who has admitted firing “warning shots” on the N3 highway that allegedly caused an accident in 2008, failed yesterday in an application to win a discharge on the six attempted murder charges he is facing.

Regional magistrate Chris van Vuuren granted a similar application on behalf of his colleague, Caiphas Ndlela (36), who was acquitted of all charges of attempted murder and recklessly discharging a firearm.

The court found there was no evidence suggesting Ndlela had formed a common purpose with Nxumalo.

But Ndlela, who was driving the black VW Golf to fetch Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe from Waterfall to inspect storm damage at Molweni when the shooting took place, still faces a charge of reckless and negligent driving.

The state case ended yesterday.

The trial of the two men has been postponed until February 1 next year when the defence case will begin.

An application expected to be argued yesterday for the magistrate’s recusal was withdrawn at the start of yesterday’s proceedings by defence advocate Griffiths Madonsela.

A member of the police accident unit in Pietermaritzburg, Warrant Officer Mark Roberts, testified that he was driving along the N3 towards Ashburton on the day, November 15, 2008, when he became aware of a car flashing its headlights behind him.

While he was in the fast lane overtaking several heavy trucks, a black VW Golf with flashing lights came right up behind his car — a marked police vehicle — and “started applying pressure” on him to get out of the way, but there was nowhere for him to go. He noticed there were blue lights on the Golf’s dashboard.

As soon as he got the chance, he moved over and the Golf “shot” past him as the driver changed gear and accelerated.

Roberts said he turned off at Ashburton, but observed the Golf ahead on the N3 “putting similar pressure” on another black vehicle. It seemed the Golf was trying to overtake the car on the right, on the edge of the tar.

The traffic was heavy, he said.

Shortly after turning off the N3 Roberts drove on to the R103 which runs parallel with the highway.

From there he saw that an accident had happened and he drove back.

At the accident scene he examined a flat tyre on a black Mazda, but later concluded that the damage was caused by the impact of the collision and not by a bullet.

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