Murder accused claim torture by police

2013-04-11 22:16
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Three men accused of murdering an Indian businessman in 2010 told the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court on Thursday that police tortured them into confessing.

A Sapa correspondent reported the lawyer for one of the accused told the court his client and his co-accused would testify how police officers assaulted them.

Bongani Mnisi, 24, Xolani Chauke, 24, and Njabulo Mathonsi, 26, all from Naas in the Nkomazi region, have pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted robbery and possession of an unlicensed 9mm pistol and ammunition.

They are accused of killing Abdul Rehman Ibrahim Patel during an attempted robbery in Block C on 23 February 2010.

During a trial-within-a-trial Mnisi's lawyer Vusi Mtsweni said Captain Delisile Magagula assaulted his client after his arrest.

"My client says the captain forced him to sign the statement. He would testify he had asked her why he should sign it, as he never said anything that was in the content," Mtsweni stated.

He told the court Mnisi opened a case of assault.

Captain Magagula testified she did not assault Mnisi and that he made the statement willingly. She said the investigating officer, Constable Leonard Zwane, brought Mnisi to her office at the Tonga police station on 23 February 2010.

"Zwane asked for my assistance to take down Mnisi's warning statement. After I introduced myself, and read him his rights, he agreed and said he preferred giving me the statement," Magagula testified.

Jeremiah Mtshweni, for Chauke, told the court his client would testify how the investigating officer and another policeman, Constable Sabelo Malala, tortured him using pepper spray and plastic.

"They also tortured him with handcuffs which left marks on his wrists."

He said Chauke would testify that when he was taken to Captain Timothy Mbombi to make a statement, Mbombi did not read him his rights and he [Chauke] did not show Mbombi the wounds on his wrists as Zwane and Malala had threatened him not to do so.

"I was not there and did not see the accused being assaulted. I was in my office," Malala said.

Lieutenant Colonell Irene Nobunga, who interviewed the third accused, Mathonsi, testified she interviewed him on 12 March 2010, on request by Constable Zwane.

Nobunga said she read Mathonsi his rights and asked if he had been threatened or assaulted. He said no.

"He looked sober and agreed nothing had forced him to make the statement. After we were done, I read it back to him and he signed it without any pressure," Nobunga said.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    police  |  mbombela

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