Johann Burmeister, as defendant, couldn’t have wished for a better prosecution… why… because the prosecution was that hopeless. The 14 people who turned up to support ‘Burmie’ left without a doubt that he was being set-up and lynched… and that, thankfully, the prosecution’s rope was thinner than string.
Burmeister was a long-serving, well respected, Knysna cop until he was kicked off the police force earlier this year and suspiciously charged with stealing a laptop from evidence. Their possible motive is the biggest question, one which has disturbed many citizens. In ‘Is Johann Burmeister a Good Cop Being Destroyed?’, i gave you the background to the situation and explained why i have chosen to support him.
Despite this being his fourth court appearance, this was only the first day of his trial. While he’s waited anxiously to clear his name the past 8 months, he’s struggled to keep his house and family safe, relying on goodwill from his supporters (over 400 on his ‘Stand by Burmie’ Facebook group) to get them through. It was undoubtedly with a juxtaposition of nerves and relief that he sat in the dock.
The Knysna SAPS seemed to lose their case with their first witness, Sergeant Maurice Grootboom, who had made an affidavit implicating Burmeister. Grootboom was distinctly uncomfortable under an onslaught of questions from the highly capable, defence advocate, Eduard Bruwer. For hours, he forced Grootboom to stop evading only to poke holes in the eventual answers.
Maurice Grootboom claimed to be in charge of the CSE (Community Service Centre a.k.a. the charge office found as you enter a South African police station) when he allowed Burmeister to take the laptop from evidence without signing it out. He claimed that he’d been busy so had, on trust, allowed this to happen. He then forgot to check it was back in but had realised it wasn’t when Warrant Officer Appels, in the next shift, had called to query him. Thereafter, he forgot about it… until 3 months later, in February 2014, when he signed the affidavit that had eventually led to him being the State’s witness.
Burmeister has claimed that he took the laptop, which he had recovered from thieves, to a local computer shop who identified whose computer it was. With that info, he then contacted Radie Dippenaar, the supposed owner, who stated that it was in fact his son’s (Jandre). Burmeister then returned it to Sergeant Carmen Coetzee at the Knysna Police Station.
Read Part 2, which covers what happened in court, contradictions by Grootboom and the mysterious appearance by a member of SAPS Intelligence.