Cops erred in Westbury case, court told

2015-03-12 21:17
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Police officers did not follow procedure when taking down witness statements following the shooting death of toddler Luke Tibbetts, the trial of his alleged killer heard on Thursday.

"The statements were taken wrongly and not read back [to the witnesses]," Sog van Eck, for Lindray Khakhu, told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge.

He wanted permission to ask the investigating officer at the Sophiatown police station to tell the court which officers had taken the witnesses' statements.

"In the interest of justice this must be clarified," Van Eck said.

He said at least four witnesses had pointed out errors in their statements and had testified that they were not read back to them before they signed them.

Three-year-old Tibbetts was shot in Westbury in August last year. He was sitting in the centre of the back seat in a car, on his mother's lap. The car was travelling towards Khakhu when he allegedly shot at Keenan Mokwena as he drove away in his own car.

A bullet went through the windscreen of the car Tibbetts was in, hitting him in the head. He died in hospital six days later. Mokwena was injured.

Khakhu is on trial for two murders, including that of Tibbetts, five counts of attempted murder, including that of Mokwena, 10 of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one of pointing a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges.

Khakhu's former girlfriend Zhane van der Westhuizen, who saw the shooting, told the court how her statement was taken and which information was incorrect.

She said two days after the incident, a police officer made notes while questioning her at the police station. He told her she was lying and she was escorted to another room.

A female police officer took the piece of paper the previous officer had written on before telling her she could go home if she signed it.

"She was very rude," said Van der Westhuizen.

Her statement did not contain an official police stamp.

Earlier, Kanita Thomas, who was driving the car in which Tibbetts was shot, told the court her statement was not read back to her.

According to her statement said she had heard shots being fired, when in fact she had only heard a loud bang. Moments later she realised her car had been shot at.

The case was postponed to Monday 10:00 to allow the State to find out which officers had taken the statements.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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