Suspect disappears

2017-10-25 06:00
Ntsane Togowe

Ntsane Togowe

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The murder case of Bloemfontein tavern owner and former Moroka Swallows player Alfred Lejone Helepi took yet another turn when the Bloemfontein High Court postponed the trial on Thursday (19/10).

Judge PE Moletsoane rescheduled the case after the accused, Ntsane To-gowe (37), disappeared from the court after the proceedings had been adjourned for a lunch break.

Subsequently, Judge Moletsoane authorised a warrant of arrest with the Hawks launching another massive search, this time to recapture Togowe.

The elite crime-fighting unit is still on a mission to recapture another four suspects to stand trial for Helepi’s murder. Still at large are Lesotho nationals Lira Morienyane (32), Nthabiseng Clementina Lempe (32) and Alice Majake (27), as well as Andile Banzini Gxamza (33).

It was the second time within seven days that Judge Moletsoane had postponed the trial.

He first did so on 12 October, after Lawrence Tshabalala, the attorney of Legal Aid South Africa representing Togowe, submitted a medical certificate declaring Togowe too ill to appear in court. The case was postponed to Monday, 16 October.

However, the trial came to a halt on Thursday, when Togowe disappeared.

Despite the judge delaying the proceedings on the day in the hope of Togowe returning, the accused (also known as Smith) did not show up.

The trial now hangs in the balance, much to the dismay of Helepi’s family.

Togowe disappeared just a day after he had testified and had been cross-examined about his role in Helepi’s murder.

The lone accused blatantly denied any involvement in the cold-blooded murder on 29 March at Helepi’s place of business in Phahameng, Bloemfontein.

The accused told the court that he had been assaulted by ­members of the Hawks during his arrest. He told the court that one of the officers had strangled him using a safety belt of the vehicle the police had been using.

Three state witnesses have testified against Togowe.

The murder case of the former Swallows stalwart, popularly known as Chencha, has been fraught with controversy.

The case reached the stage it is in now after Togowe had handed himself over to the police in Bloemfontein earlier this year and appeared in court alone, with his co-accused still at large after they had been freed in November last year.

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