Trial in a trial to decide on statement

2010-01-13 00:00

A STATEMENT made by an alleged member of an armed gang was yesterday read out in the Pietermaritzbur­g High Court during a murder and armed robbery trial.

Ladysmith magistrate Jan Venter told Judge Jerome Mnguni that accused Kwazi Leshaba (36) of Ladysmith made the statement to him 19 days after security guard Sipho Mchunu was shot dead during the robbery of Mark’s Tyres in Ladysmith, in November 2007.

While former Mark’s Tyres security guard and now an accused, Bongumusa Madlala (26), pretended to be working at the company, other gang members forced staff to open a safe at gunpoint. The gang allegedly took R23 376 cash, cheques totalling R26 226, a pistol and ammunition, a laptop, and other items.

The other accused are Sabelo Mbambo (26), Nqaba Khumalo (32) and Sibusiso Mzimela (32). All the accused are from Ladysmith, apart from Mzimela, who is from Zululand.

All have pleaded not guilty to the armed robbery of a car at Newcastle, kidnapping the occupants of the car, armed robbery of Mark’s Tyres workers, the murder of Mchunu, and attempted murder of Roger Tyler by shooting at him.

The contents of the statement can only be published if the court rules it as a confession that can be used against him. The court went into a trial within a trial to decide if the statement made by Leshaba is a confession.

The trial continues today.

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