Rattray accused claims coercion

2008-03-11 00:00

One of two accused on trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for the murder and attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances of historian David Rattray last January has alleged that he was “manhandled” by police following his arrest and forced to do a pointing-out at the crime scene.

Judge Kate Pillay is hearing evidence in a trial within a trial to determine whether the pointing-out done by Sibonele Xolani Mpanza (28) is admissible as evidence in the case.

Mpanza and his co-accused, Simphiwe Ndlovu (25), have pleaded not guilty and claim they have been falsely implicated.

Inspector Milton Ndlovu told the court yesterday Mpanza was arrested during the night of March 13 last year after police traced him to a remote rondavel in mountainous, hostile terrain.

Ndlovu said Mpanza’s Consitutional rights were explained to him. En route to the police vehicles, he was “talkative” and said he wanted to co-operate fully. He volunteered to point out where the incident happened.

Ndlovu denied suggestions by Mpanza’s counsel, Dean Govender, that Mpanza was “manhandled to the extent that he felt he was assaulted” during his arrest.

Investigating officer Inspector Thinus du Plooy said that while he was being transported to Glencoe police cells in the early hours of that morning, Mpanza told him that he wanted to plead guilty.

The next morning, he went to see if Mpanza still felt the same, but Mpanza said he was tired, so Du Plooy left him to rest.

When he came back the following day, Mpanza still wanted to plead guilty and Du Plooy then arranged for him to be examined by a district surgeon and do a pointing-out.

Du Plooy, who was present when Mpanza was arrested, denied that he was manhandled or assaulted. Asked how he will respond if it is suggested to him that he, Du Plooy, threatened to kill Mpanza if he did not co-operate, Du Plooy responded: “That’s a lie”.

The case is proceeding.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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