Grenade in jail case: men get off

2013-10-15 00:00

THE reported finding of a hand grenade in the possession of prisoners in a Scottburgh police cell in mid-2010 triggered major concerns in the community at the time, but the case came to a tame ending in court last Wednesday.

Three men facing charges relating to the finding of the British-made Mills grenade (evidence was led that it was smuggled inside a sealed cool-drink container) were told by Magistrate Boda-Khedun that those charges had not been proven in accord with the relevant statute.

In that respect, the cases against them were dismissed and the principal defendant Yunus Salajee walked free.

His co-accused, Mdudigi Zama and Xolani Jwara, who are serving sentences for previous offences, remain to face additional charges. A fourth accused is currently a fugitive from justice and his trial was separated from this one.

The defence counsel, comprising advocate Khan appearing for Salajee, attorney R. Ramassar for Zama and attorney Peter Rousseau for Jwara, asked the magistrate to discharge their clients on all charges, based on a number of legal and evidential grounds.

The magistrate duly found in their favour in terms of the charges relating to the grenade.

This was primarily on the grounds that the state had not complied with vital clauses of the Explosives Act in terms of identifying whether the grenade was “live” before destroying it.

Zama and Jwara have rested their cases and will now face judgment on charges of defeating or obstructing the administration of justice, attempting to escape from lawful custody, assault and rape and alternatively sexual assault.

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