Computer malfunction leads to delays in murder case

2015-04-07 18:27
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Mbombela - The malfunction of the Nelspruit Correctional Services' computers has led to a murder case being delayed after officials could not trace an incarcerated inmate.

According to African Eye News, the missing inmate, Solly Zitha, 42, from Bushbuckridge, was due to appear in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Tuesday alongside his two co-accused, Pleasure Ngobeni, 24, and Linah Magagula, 48, on charges of murder, robbery, malicious damage to property, theft and assault.

"Officials from the Nelspruit Correctional Services said they were unable to trace the accused due to a computer shut down, which they said has affected them since last week,” senior prosecutor Ansie Venter told the court.

Venter said the officials also said that on the J7 case docket in the State's possession, they noted the trial of the case was set to continue on April 20, but not on the 7th.

"It is on record that the case was set for trial for both the 7th and the 20th of April. I then accepted they made a mistake by failing to note the date of the 7th, but the 20th.

"I then asked if they could bring the suspect for the trial to continue, but they responded he could not be located from the cells due to the computer shutdown," Venter said.

She said it did not matter anyway, stating that after discussions with the defence, they agreed that the trial would continue on April 20.

Fraudulent statement

This case was earlier delayed after Warrant Officer Ezekiel Mahunge, attached to the Acornhoek police station, made a fraudulent statement that he took from a witness, Adrian Sithole, on January 2 2010.

During the previous trial-within-a-trial in November, Venter said Mahunge gave the statement under oath and it was taken on January 2 2010, when its entry in the investigation dairy reflected a date of December 31. The statement was not even signed at the bottom by the witness.

Venter told Mahunge that the case was handed over to Colonel Britz, former commander of the Organised Crime Unit for investigation, after the family of the deceased made a case to the ministry of police, complaining about the manner in which it was incompetently handled.

Venter said that the "ordinary murder docket" had to be taken to organised crime to be recorded, which led to police officers being charged, with one already convicted.

Mahunge testified that he couldn't identify the witness and didn't know where he was.

All the accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Magistrate André Geldenhuys postponed the case to April 20 in Zitha's absence for continuation of the trial-within-a-trial.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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