Accused deny gang rape and robbery

2010-04-16 00:00

ALL three accused charged with gang raping a woman in the city centre at knife-point, in May last year, have testified that she approached them asking for assistance because she had been robbed by others.

They have denied raping or robbing the complainant, and maintain her claims that they did so are false.

Siyabonga Sibisi (19) was the last of the three accused to give evidence to that effect before Judge Leona Theron and assessors yesterday.

Mlaba claims that he had sex with the woman by consent, after negotiating to pay her R50.

Afterwards, the accused claim she accompanied them willingly en route to attend a concert at The Oval, which ended before they got there. While they were walking to a tavern, the police arrested them.

Sibisi admitted, under cross-examination by state advocate Ian Cooke, that he had a knife on the night of May 2 last year. He said he threw the knife away at the roadside when he and Mlaba saw Gwala being arrested.

When he and Mlaba were arrested, they were assaulted by the police, who demanded that he should show them a firearm, he said.

He said Mlaba pointed out to the police where he had thrown his knife.

• Meanwhile, Pietermaritzburg policeman Raymond Mollentze (formerly of the Local Criminal Record Centre), was yesterday offered an apology by Judge Theron.

The judge also withdrew the warrant issued for his arrest earlier in the week, after she found that the state had been “disrespectful” towards Mollentze for having made him wait at court throughout the day yesterday, before allowing him to explain his previous non-atten­dance.

He told the court he had not been subpoenaed to give evidence in the trial, that his commanding officer would not allow members to attend court unless they were issued with a subpoena, and that he was being transferred to a different unit on the day in question.

He said he had told this to the investigating officer, who called him on Monday evening to tell him he was required at court the following day.

Mollentze said he was arrested yesterday morning, brought to court and made to “sit at the back of the court” throughout the day, without even an opportunity to visit the toilet.

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