Blue light magistrate asked to withdraw

2010-10-06 00:00

AN advocate representing one of the two “blue light” attempted murder accused on trial here has asked regional court magistrate Chris van Vuuren to recuse himself from the case.

Advocate Griffiths Madonsela said he was instructed to do so by policeman, Hlanganani Nxumalo (28), after the magistrate “threw his hands in the air” in irritation when Madonsela asked witness, Kribin Pillay, if he’d observed any “gunshot wound” on the vehicle he was in after it crashed in response to the alleged highway shooting near Ashburton on November 15, 2008.

Van Vuuren agreed he had shown irritation at the question, which followed “numerous discussions” around the fact that the state does not allege the bullet fired by the policeman had hit the victims’ car.

On Monday Van Vuuren declined to adjourn the trial for the defence to consult a ballistics expert on grounds this was irrelevant in view of the state’s attitude.

The application will be argued today.

Anuvasen Moodley, his wife, Yshrene and Pillay, have testified their vehicle veered out of control after they were “put under pressure” by the blue light vehicle whose passenger produced a gun before they heard shots go off.

Madonsela told the driver (Moodley) that Nxumalo will say the reason he had fired “two warning shots” was that Moodley tried to drive the officers’ vehicle off the road.

“He fired in order to warn you that they are the police. You were trying to disturb them in their duties for the MEC. He [Nxumalo] never shot at your motor vehicle.

“He never pointed a firearm in the direction of your motor vehicle. In fact he fired in the air,” said Madonsela.

Moodley denied he tried to run the blue light vehicle off the road by swerving right. He said he only heard the shots go off and did not see where the firearm was pointing. He testified that he lost control of his vehicle because he was “scared” when he heard the shots.

Yshrene Moodley who was seated behind him, said she became “very nervous” when a black car with blue lights starting “putting pressure” on their vehicle.

“When we got a gap we moved left. He stayed parallel to us for a while. Then I saw a gun ...The man in the passenger seat wound down his window and he was bending out of the window with a gun. I ducked ... I alerted the driver that he has a gun. Everything happened so quick after that. I heard (two) shots and then the crash.”

Two of the six occupants of the car were seriously injured.

Nxumalo and the driver of the blue light car, Caiphus Ndlela (36), face multiple charges, including attempted murder and unlawful or reckless discharge of a firearm.

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