Ritual killing application fails

Johannesburg - Moves to have charges dropped against two of the people accused of killing Kirsty Theologo in an apparent satanic ritual, were dismissed on Monday.

Their lawyers argued in the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, that the quality of evidence against their clients was suspect.

Judge Geraldine Borchers ruled that the credibility of witnesses was not an issue at this stage of the trial.

"At least 90% of what the witnesses said in court is in their respective statements," she said.

Theologo, 18, and her friend, who was 14-years-old at the time, were tied up, doused with petrol, and set alight on a hill in Linmeyer, south of Johannesburg, on 21 October 2011.

Theologo died in hospital, but her friend survived.

Jeremy King and Lester Moody confessed to the crime and were both sentenced to 17 years in jail, five of which were suspended.

Quality of evidence

Four other accused - Harvey Isha, Robin Harwood, Lindon Wagner, and Courtney Daniels - have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Chris Pillay, for Isha, told the court evidence by State witnesses King and Moody against his client was "of poor quality" and, therefore, charges against his client should be dismissed.

Both King and Moody were unreliable witnesses and lacked credibility, he said.

Dismissing Pillay's application, Borchers said: "Only when the court is convinced that the evidence is so poor, can it decide on that, but not at this stage."

Application dismissed

Gail Sidwell, for Harwood, also applied for charges against her client to be dismissed.

She said common purpose on Harwood had not been established and there was no chance her client would be convicted in the end.

"Harwood's presence at the crime does not indicate participation," she said.

Prosecutor Carina Coetzee argued that all four accused were present and knew that Theologo was going to be "sacrificed", for at least two and a half hours before Theologo arrived.

Borchers dismissed Sidwell's application as well.

Isha is expected to testify next at the trial, which continues.

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