No bail for Lawrence Moepi’s alleged killer

2014-01-27 13:53

The man accused of killing forensic auditor Lawrence Moepi has been denied bail in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court.

Speaking to Remember Siphoro, magistrate Piet du Plessis said today: “The application for bail is declined. The application is based on the premise that the state has a weak case.”

Du Plessis said it was not for the state to prove Siphoro was guilty but for his defence to provide exceptional circumstances for bail to be granted because he was charged with a Schedule 6 offence.

Du Plessis said from the evidence in the case docket, Siphoro could not be linked to the crime through DNA or fingerprints, neither was he found in possession of a firearm, ammunition, money or another item from the scene.

However, there was an eyewitness who could place Siphoro at the scene and forensic evidence from the cellphones could show he was following Moepi for a few days, Du Plessis said.

Wearing a peach-coloured T-shirt and blue jeans, Siphoro (42) stood in the dock listening to the judgment.

Earlier, Siphoro’s lawyer, Paul Leisher, argued that the state’s case was weak and based on substantial evidence.

Leisher argued that if the case went to trial, Siphoro was likely to be acquitted and therefore should be granted bail.

He said: “The state’s case is based purely on substantial evidence ...The state’s case is particularly weak and based upon mere suspicion.

“While there is a suspicion there must at least be something that links the accused [Siphoro]. There is a clear motive no doubt, but the same applies for other people.”

He said because of the high-profile cases Moepi had investigated there could be other people with motives.

Moepi was followed into the parking lot of the SizweNtsalubaGobodo offices in Houghton, Johannesburg, in October last year, allegedly by Siphoro and an accomplice in a Volkswagen Golf.

He was shot as he was getting out of his car. His killers fled the scene.

Prosecutor Thomas Matlou argued that the state’s case was not weak nor based purely on suspicion.

He called the investigating officer, Abraham Heyns, to testify today.

Heyns told the court there was an eyewitness who identified Siphoro at an identity parade as the driver of the car.

“The accused was pointed out by the witness as driving out of the premises where the deceased was shot and killed ... on the day,” said Heyns.

The court heard there were two different witnesses – one was the security guard at the gate and the other was a woman who was waiting for Moepi in the ground-floor boardroom of the building.

“According to a witness, a man coming from the left-front passenger seat of the white Golf GTI walked up to the deceased while he was sitting in his vehicle,” said Heyns.

“She then heard two gunshots.”

Heyns said he reconstructed the scene and estimated that the woman was about 20m away from the shooting.

Leisher told the court that Siphoro would tell the court he was not involved in Moepi’s murder.

However, Du Plessis said Siphoro made no attempt since then to say where he was at the time of the shooting nor who he was with.

Earlier, Matlou told the court there was a problem with verifying Siphoro’s address as the woman staying there said he only stayed over occasionally.

However, Leisher said there was no evidence to prove that Siphoro did not stay there as he was arrested at the address and his clothes were there.

Siphoro faces charges of murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. His alleged accomplice is still at large.

The case has been postponed to February 18 for further investigation.

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