State accused of delaying Macia case

2013-05-24 16:00
Mido Macia (Picture: AP)

Mido Macia (Picture: AP)

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Police brutality case postponed

2013-04-12 12:58

The case against the police officers accused of killing a Mozambican man by dragging him behind a police van has been postponed to May 24. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Nine policemen accused of killing taxi driver Mido Macia appeared in the Benoni Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Magistrate Sam Makamu postponed the case to 26 July so the investigation could be completed, with DNA results still pending.

Indictments also needed to be prepared so a trial date could be set, with the matter to be transferred to the high court.

The director of public prosecutions (DPP) notified the prosecution on Friday morning that the matter would be moved.

The prosecution suggested the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria as the likely venue.

Macia was filmed being tied to the back of a police van and dragged along a street in Daveyton on 26 February.

Officers confronted him because his taxi had apparently been blocking traffic, and a scuffle ensued.

He was found dead in the local police station's holding cells several hours later.

The accused are Thamsanqa Ncema, 35, Linda Sololo, 56, Meshack Malele, 45, Motome Walter Ramatlou, 37, Percy Mnisi, 26, Bongumusa Mdluli, 25, Sipho Ngobeni, 30, Lungisa Ewababa, 31, and Bongani Kolisi, 27.

Their lawyers opposed the postponement saying their clients would suffer loss of income while in custody.

They argued the State was employing delaying tactics, and that the case docket was still in the prosecutor's office.

The language in the communique from the DPP on Friday morning was vague, and did not refer to the pending DNA results, which prosecutor December Mthimunye mentioned.

Bail application

The defence asked to see the docket so it could prepare a new bail application, saying the accused had not exhausted all their legal options.

Mthimunye disagreed, telling the packed courtroom: "[The] defence was speculating, and they don't know what they are talking about."

He denied delaying tactics were being used.

"The State in no way is playing dirty tactics. I take exception [to] that."

He said the defence had not submitted an application to see the docket, and they could not simply demand it.

Makamu told the defence it was not the State's duty to supply the docket, unless the State had acted unreasonably, which in his opinion it had not, especially with the investigation still incomplete.

The defence had been "a little bit reckless" in suggesting the docket had not left the prosecutor's office, he said.

High court

If he had refused the postponement application, he would either have had to hear the matter immediately, or strike it off the roll.

As the DPP had indicated, the case would be transferred to the high court.

The transfer and associated preparations took time.

Spokesperson for the Macia family and for the Mozambican government, Jose Nascimento, said the legal process was following its course, with the postponement not unexpected.

"This is normal practice. It's not a long time for a matter of this seriousness," he said, having advised the family it was unlikely the matter would have proceeded on Friday.

Read more on:    dpp  |  police  |  mido macia  |  police brutality

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