Suspects in murder of cop won’t be photographed

2013-11-26 00:00

TWO alleged cop killers yesterday said they were concerned that if their pictures were taken in court it would adversely impact their case and might lead to an unfair trial.

Mthokozisi Innocent “Parker” Ngcobo (23) and Khulekani Mathews Vilakazi (20) appeared at the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court yesterday after they were accused of murdering Constable Thabo Mlotshwa and of theft.

The magistrate granted the request by the suspects’ lawyer not to allow the media to photograph them.

Mlotshwa (32), who was stationed at the National Intervention Unit, was discovered in a shallow grave in Mpola, Mariannhill, almost a week after he had gone missing.

The accused were also charged with stealing Mlotshwa’s two cellphones, wallet, keys and Ford Focus vehicle.

Mlotshwa was apparently hijacked and shot twice before his body was buried in a shallow grave. It was discovered on Tuesday last week.

The police recovered the constable’s vehicle at Lindelani, where it was abandoned. The provincial tracking team followed up information about the whereabouts of the suspects, which led them to the first suspect’s home in Mpola. Two shovels, the deceased’s bag, firearm retainer, a blood-stained curtain and muddied shoes were found there.

Yesterday, the accused’s Legal Aid attorney, Fundi Ndlovu, objected to photographs being taken after her clients raised concern about the impact it might “adversely” have on them. She said Ngcobo and Vilakazi feared that they may have an unfair trial.

Magistrate Chris Annamalai agreed that this could lead to an unfair trial.

“The court’s ruling is that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

The two men appeared calm throughout the court proceedings, standing all the while with their hands behind their backs. The only time they spoke was when they asked the court for a “free attorney” to represent them.

The case was adjourned to Monday to check if they have any pending cases and to draw blood for DNA analysis.

Three more accused will appear in court today for the same case, after the tracking team arrested them on Saturday.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said they were arrested in various places in the province.

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