Accused in botched robbery claim assault

2013-04-30 21:38


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Johannesburg - Seven of the ten men accused of attempting to rob the Emperors Palace Casino were assaulted by police, the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

One of those assaulted was ordered to wash his bloody clothes by police, said his lawyer Rudi Krause.

"One of the accused did not wash his clothes and can show where he was injured," said Krause.

The man removed his jacket to show the court his shirt which had a blood stain on the shoulder.

"The investigating officers were forcing him to give self-incriminating evidence," said Krause.

Another suspect who also claimed to have been assaulted was implicated in another robbery case which would be heard in the Germiston Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

He was charged for the other crime while in police custody on Monday.

Krause said the man claimed to have been taken out of the police station, and moved to another building where he was assaulted.

The investigating team in the other case had requested that he be moved to the Brixton police station in preparation for him to appear in the Germiston court later this week.

It was unclear which police station the ten accused had initially been held at.

Prosecutor Ninette Lambden rejected the assault claims, saying the court should keep in mind that a shoot-out ensued before the men were arrested on Sunday.

Lambden said the men's injuries could have been inflicted during the incident.

Magistrate Prince Manyathi ruled that all the men be kept at the Brixton police cells until their next appearance.

He ordered that all of them undergo medical observation so the court could determine their current injuries and monitor if they suffered any more injuries.

Manyathi said the man implicated in the separate case should not consult with police without his lawyer's presence.

Their case was postponed to 6 May, when three of the accused were expected to have organised legal representation.

Families of the accused packed the small court room and filled the two benches.

As they stood in the dock, the accused occasionally turned, trying to locate their relatives.

The court ruled that the men not be identified nor their faces shown in the media.

Lambden said this could affect the other case the one accused was implicated in. An identity parade could possibly also still be held.

Earlier, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said 15 men were initially arrested for the foiled robbery at the casino on Sunday but three were later released.

"We found that the three were not part of the gang that tried to rob the casino and they were simply there for their own personal reasons," said Dlamini.

Two of the remaining 12 were still in hospital after they were injured during a shoot-out with police.

"They are still recovering at the Tembisa Hospital," said Dlamini.

Police received a tip-off that a gang was planning to rob the gambling spot. Police confronted the men at the casino's entrance and a shoot-out ensued.

Three AK-47 assault rifles, four pistols, and one revolver were recovered.

A 5-year-old girl was grazed by a stray bullet inside the casino's hotel. She was taken to the hospital in Benoni.

On Monday, medics reported that the girl was out of danger and doctors had removed shrapnel from the side of her face and her head.

The 12 men face charges of conspiracy to commit a robbery, attempted murder, possession of unlicensed firearms, and possession of suspected stolen vehicles.

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