'Police cuffed us, hung us over balcony'

2015-11-16 19:24
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Johannesburg - Three of the four men accused of shooting and injuring two police officers told the Benoni Magistrate's Court on Monday that police cuffed them and hung them over a balcony.

Livingstone Nkuna, who is representing three of the accused, told the court his clients had been physically assaulted and tortured by officers at the Germiston police station.

"One of my clients' wrists are twisted. All their wrists were cut by the handcuffs. [Accused number two] has chest pains from being punched," Nkuna said.

He requested that the group be moved to Modderbee Correctional Centre in Benoni.

Prosecutor Keneilwe Meso had asked that the court postpone the matter for an identity parade which was expected to take place within the next seven days.

During that time, she requested that the group remain in the Germiston police station's holding cells.

But Nkuna objected, saying this "would be tantamount to being taken to a lion's den". 

"The police are acting in total disregard of the Constitution."

Meso told the court that the investigating officer handling the matter, who was based in Germiston, denied the claims but promised to be more vigilant.

Meso also told the court the reason she had requested that the men remain in the holding cells was because it could take weeks to get a date for the group to take the identification parade if they were moved to the prison.

This had been the court's experience with the prison in the past, she said, adding that it would also increase the likelihood of the men remaining in custody for longer.

"We would not mind the date, as long as they are not being assaulted at Germiston," Nkuna said.

Tommy Morotolo, who is representing the fourth accused - an Ekurhuleni Metro Police officer - told the court he had no objection to his client being detained at the Germiston police station.

He also asked the court to set a date for a bail application hearing.

After a five-minute adjournment, Magistrate Sam Makamu postponed the matter to November 20 for the three accused to be medically examined and for a date for the identification parade to be set before the group could be transferred to the prison.

All four men face charges of truck hijacking, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms.

On Friday, two police officers were shot and wounded in the shoulder and leg respectively, by alleged hijackers in Benoni, while pursuing a hijacked truck.

The truck was later found abandoned in Kempton Park. It was apparently hijacked in Secunda, Mpumalanga.

Nothing was taken from the truck which was carrying cell phones, jewellery and firearms.

The injured officers are recovering in hospital.

Read more on:    police  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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