Court slams police for delay

2010-09-16 00:00

ACTING high court Judge Poobie Govindasamy, in a judgment handed down in Durban this week, criticised police for having failed to bring an accused to court within 48 hours.

The accused was arrested on August 27, 2009, but was brought to court for the first time only on November 6.

The judge said the evidence did not show that any exceptions to the 48-hour time limit were applicable in the matter.

The rights of the accused in terms of section 35 (1) (d) of the Constitution had clearly been violated.

The “enormity of his unlawful detention” was compounded by the fact that police obtained a confession from him on November 5, 2009, when he should have already made his first appearance in court.

The judge later acquitted the accused, Innocent Mshana Mkhize, of the murders of Zanele Pretty Mtshali on November 1, 2008, and Cyprian Ayanda Nzuza on February 5, 2009, after ruling that the confession police had taken from him was inadmissible. He said he was not satisfied the confession was made freely.

He also found that the remaining evidence of the state witnesses was flimsy and not enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The murders took place at or near Kranskloof hostel at KwaDabeka, Pinetown.

The judge said it is sad and unfortunate that the two victims lost their lives under violent and inexcusable circumstances.

While it may be that the accused was involved in committing the offences, he added, this was only a suspicion and the court cannot convict a person because he was suspected of involvement in an offence.

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