Duma verdict today

2009-08-13 00:00

JUDGMENT is expected to be given today at the trial of former taxi owner Sibusiso Duma (24), who faces multiple charges of murder, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

State advocate Candy Kander has submitted in argument before Acting Judge Kobus Booyens and two assessors that the state has proved 17 of the 19 counts with which Duma was charged.

She said that although the accused has an entrenched legal right to remain silent, she submitted that his failure to testify in his defence in the face of “overwhelming” evidence entitled the court to draw an adverse inference.

In connection with some of the charges, including the rape and attempted murder of a 17-year-old Pietermaritzburg schoolgirl at Azalea Cemetery on October 20, 2007, Kander urged the court to accept that “strong” circumstantial evidence leads to the conclusion that Duma was one of her attackers.

Among the many charges facing Duma are that he murdered a security guard, Mqeku Joseph Zondi, by running him over with his taxi at Henley Dam on September 9, 2007; that he raped and murdered Hlengiwe Shangase near Shepstone Road, Edendale, on October 19, 2007; that he robbed and murdered Masizane Mtshatsha and Thamsanqa Mbindwane on October 19, 2007; that he kidnapped, robbed and attempted to murder Tshepo Mhlongo, Linda Jali and a teenage girl and later raped the scholar at around midnight on October 19/20, 2007, at the Azalea Cemetery in Pietermaritzburg; and that he robbed, raped and murdered Hillcrest teacher Happy Noxolo on October 25, 2007.

The defence submitted that the state failed to prove Duma’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on all the charges and that he should be acquitted.

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