He knew he could kill someone

2014-09-11 00:00

THE state led 21 witnesses in this case in an attempt to prove the accused planned to murder the deceased. The state must prove the accused had a plan, that he equipped himself with the necessary tools and then that he executed this plan.

My finding is that the state did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder. There is no evidence before of the court to support this charge.

The WhatsApp messages show a normal relationship between two young people who are in the process of getting to know one another, nothing more.

The state has however succeeded in proving the charge of murder beyond all reasonable doubt against the accused. The accused did know someone was behind the toilet door when he fired four shots through it, he also knew very well there was a definite probability that the person who was behind the door, could be killed. He had reconciled himself with this fact and acted in accordance with it. His action meets the requirements of murder dolus eventualis.

I reject the accused’s version that he was under the impression that he and the deceased were in mortal danger and that he acted as he did to protect them from this perceived danger.

The accused’s version leaves a lot to be desired. Why did he not first ascertain where the deceased was before he armed himself? Why did he not double check that it was indeed an intruder behind the toilet door?

In contrast to his version, the state’s so-called “ear-witnesses” are extremely reliable and credible. Dr ­Michelle Burger, her husband, Charl Johnson, and the Stipp couple all convinced the court the deceased had ­indeed screamed. The defence’s attempts to convince the court that these four witnesses had mistaken his screams for those of a woman, failed. Each independent witness was firm in their belief that they had heard a woman’s screams. The defence had made a sound recording of the accused’s screams, but never played it to the court or to the state’s witnesses. This speaks volumes.

The only way in which the accused’s version of putative self defence can succeed, is if he can prove his actions were that of any reasonable person in the same circumstance. He could not prove this.

The evidence that the state led shows there was no perceived danger on that night. The expert evidence of Professor Gert Saayman and Captain Chris Mangena condemned the accused. The court accepts this expert evidence as credible and true. The evidence of Dr Wayne Derman and Tom (Wollie) Wolmarans is rejected as wrong and false.

The accused’s version is riddled with contradictions and cannot be reasonably probably true. He is therefore found guilty of murder.

• Ulrich Roux is an attorney in Johannesburg.

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