Cop to deny jumping

2013-09-12 00:00

AN adrenalin rush might have galvanised Lieutenant-General Bethuel Zuma into being able to jump a two-metre high gate to escape a traffic officer’s handcuffs.

This was suggested by senior provincial road traffic inspector Karen Bishop during Zuma’s drunk driving trial yesterday.

According to her evidence, Zuma did not protest when asked to take a breathalyser test, nor when he was told he was being arrested and his constitutional rights were read to him in December 2008.

But the sight of a pair of handcuffs sent him running and jumping over a two-metre high garden gate.

Zuma’s lawyer Sergie Brimiah asked Bishop if she seriously wanted the court to believe Zuma had jumped such a “very high gate” taking into account his “large” physical appearance.

“That’s what I saw … maybe adrenalin does something,” said Bishop.

She told magistrate Reard Abrahams she and two colleagues, Kerwin Johansen and Garth Botha, were conducting a “roving alcohol roadblock” in Alexandra Road when a Mercedes Vito with GP number plates approached just before midnight on December 19, 2008.

The officers wore full uniform and reflective jackets and their patrol vehicle — a white Condor — was marked and fitted with blue lights and a siren.

Bishop said Johansen used hand signals and a torch to indicate to the driver of the Vito to stop, but he didn’t.

She and Johansen “jumped” into the Condor and gave chase. Johansen put on the blue lights and the siren and used a loudspeaker to call out to the driver of the Vito to stop, but he just carried on driving.

They pursued the Vito into Carey Road where they lost sight of it. She then saw the vehicle stationary in the driveway of a house in Abbott Road (off Carey).

“My colleague asked the driver to alight … he was sitting in the driver’s seat,” she said. She identified Zuma as being the driver of the Vito.

Bishop said Johansen told Zuma he was required to provide a breath sample. A breathalyser was administered and the reading was 0,65 mg per 1 000 ml of breath (the legal limit being 0,24 mg per 1 000 ml of breath).

“Johansen then placed the accused under arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. He informed him of the reason why he was being arrested and read him his constitutional rights … As Mr Johansen tried to place handcuffs on the accused, the accused pushed him over and jumped over the gate.”

She said Zuma ran inside the house.

While waiting for “back up” she and Johansen drove to the intersection and when they got back to the house, the Vito had disappeared from the driveway and the gates to the yard were closed.

Bishop said she left the scene at that point to charge and detain two other drunk driving suspects who were already under arrest and were in the patrol vehicle.

By the time she came back and saw Zuma emerge from the house talking on his cellphone, and accompanied by policemen and Johansen, the time had passed when they were able to conduct further alcohol tests and take a blood sample from Zuma.

During cross examination, Bishop agreed there were a number differences between her evidence and Johansen’s, prompting Brimiah to ask her if she was sure she and Johansen witnessed the same incident.

For example, Brimiah said, Johansen alluded to a “child” also being in the Vito that she did not see; that he testified the driver was standing outside the Vito and was no longer behind the wheel when they confronted him; and that Johansen claimed that when asked for a breath sample, Zuma at first refused to give it.

He also questioned why Bishop only testified during cross examination that she could smell alcohol on Zuma.

Bishop denied she was “hiding” any­thing from the court, and said being under oath she was telling the court what she could remember.

Brimiah said Zuma will deny that he ever took a breathalyser test that night, or that he fled and jumped the gate as alleged by Bishop.

The court granted a request by Brimiah to recall Bishop today to finalise his cross examination, after which the trial will be adjourned to another date.

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