Police driver 'did not know' he was dragging Macia

2013-03-12 13:32

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The driver of the police vehicle that dragged taxi driver Mido Macia was unaware the man was attached to the van, the Benoni Magistrates’ Court has heard.

Defence lawyer Elias Tshole said the driver stated in an affidavit that he looked in the rear-view mirrors and did not see Macia.

“If someone is underneath (the vehicle) there is no way you will see them (in the rear-view mirrors).”

Another accused saw Macia being dragged and tried to intervene. In an affidavit, this man said: “I ran to try alert the person driving that bakkie that there was someone dragging (behind it)”.

Tshole argued this was consistent with the accused trying to save a life.

Nine policemen are applying for bail after being arrested and charged with killing Macia.

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

Macia was filmed being tied to the back of a police van and dragged along a street in Daveyton on February 26. An eyewitness gave the footage to the Daily Sun newspaper. Macia was found dead in the police station’s holding cells several hours later.

Tshole said: “Were they all dragging the deceased? Clearly, no.”

He said the circumstances would not support allegations that the policemen acted with common purpose, as the rules of common purpose did not pertain to the matter.

“If this court was sitting as a trial court today, they would be acquitted.”

Tshole said the accused, as policemen, had helped to maintain peace and security in the country. He said their release on bail would not compromise security.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate was handling the matter.

“It is currently an open secret they are suspended from work,” Tshole said. “They cannot destroy evidence.”

The accused would also not intimidate witnesses, because they had no access to any relevant information or witnesses. The men also did not have the means to flee the country, he argued.

Yesterday, the court heard Macia was in an accident several days before his death.

“A few days before his death he was involved in a car accident with schoolchildren,” defence lawyer Lokhimbar Dikatope said.

“Five of them (the children) died as a result. A case of culpable homicide was opened against him.”

The court also heard yesterday that an autopsy found Macia had suffered extensive internal and external injuries and had died from oxygen deprivation, a condition known as hypoxia.

Earlier, Magistrate Sam Makamu denied an application by the defence to shut down an overflow room with a live feed of court proceedings.

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