Terre'Blanche officer accused of deceit
Ventersdorp - The officer investigating the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche was accused in the High Court sitting in Ventersdorp on Monday of trying to deceive the two people standing trial for the crime.
"We will submit that your agenda and intentions were to deceive the accused and the court," defence lawyer Norman Arendse said in cross-examining the investigating officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tsietsi Mano.
Farmworker Chris Mahlangu and a minor, who may not be named, are charged with beating Terre'Blanche to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp in April 2010.
Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mahlangu claims he acted in self defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.
The court heard on Monday that Mano had signed the occurrence book, but not the cell register, when he transported them from the Ventersdorp police station to his office in Klerksdorp on the night of the murder.
Mano had also indicated in the occurrence register that they were being taken to the Hartebeesfontein police station, near Klerksdorp, when they were actually first taken to his office.
"You can’t just take people to your office," said Arendse, acting for the minor.
Mano maintained he had every right to take them to his office as he was the investigating officer.
"As soon as I signed the occurrence book, they were entirely my responsibility. There is nothing wrong with that, my lord," Mano said.
To which Arendse said: "Colonel Mano there’s a lot wrong with that."
The court heard that Mahlangu was taken to Hartebeesfontein police station later on that night, while the minor was taken to the Klerksdorp police station. Mano denied trying to deceive them, but admitted he had not told them where they were going or why they were being transferred.
Arendse asked why their families were not told of their whereabouts and argued that this was tantamount to kidnapping.
The court was told that Mahlangu and the youth were checked out of Ventersdorp police station shortly after midnight and signed in at the police stations only at 04:00.
Arendse described this as most unusual, saying it was part of a strategy by Mano to deprive the two of sleep by driving them from pillar to post.
Mano said the reason for transfer was the tension in Ventersdorp after Terre'Blanche’s murder.
"The situation was not conducive."
Mano submitted he had no ulterior motive or intention to do anything wrong.
Arendse put it to Mano that he jeopardised the trial because of the "indecent haste" with which he wanted the pointing out done in the early hours of that morning, when it could have been done later.
During the cross examination, Mano admitted he no longer had the notebook he had used on the night of the arrest.