Cop taking a chance, says Monye's lawyer

2012-07-24 22:35

Pretoria - Testimony by an investigating officer against an accused in the Chanelle Henning murder case was questioned in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Captain Petrus van der Spuy was in the witness stand, supporting the State's opposition to Ambrose Monye getting bail.

Advocate Jeff Ledwaba, for Monye, argued his client was not a flight risk.

He told Van der Spuy: "His [Monye's] past proves the contrary."

Ledwaba cited an unrelated charge of murder against Monye in 2009, relating to the death of Neville Olivier in a road rage attack.

The trial stretched for more than two years and Monye was finally acquitted on November 8 2011, the day Henning was fatally shot. Monye was out on bail in that matter.

The lawyer questioned Van der Spuy on why the police had not arrested the main suspect in the case.

"You told this court in January that the deceased's estranged husband was the main suspect in this case. Why haven't you arrested him?" Ledwaba asked.

Van der Spuy told the court that Nico Henning remained the police's prime suspect. In May, the Hawks raided properties belonging him.

Spokesperson for the elite crime-fighting unit, McIntosh Polela, said at the time: "I can confirm we have a search-and-seizure [warrant] on five properties of Nico Henning.

A search warrant has been executed and is part of a wider investigation."

Police questioned him shortly after the murder on 8 November. He was released without charge.

Prior to Chanelle's murder, the Hennings had been engaged in a legal row over the custody of their child.

Five men - Monye, Andre Gouws, Preshan Singh, Willem Pieterse and Pretoria police detective Gerhardus du Plessis - were arrested in November last year in connection with the murder.

The assistant school teacher was shot while driving along Manitoba Drive in Faerie Glen, east of Pretoria. She had just dropped her child off at a pre-school.

In December, Pieterse and Du Plessis pleaded guilty to murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of a firearm relating to the Henning case. They are each serving an 18-year jail term.

The charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and illegal possession of a firearm against Monye and Gouws were transferred from the magistrate's court to the city's high court. The matter had been set down for trial from 19 to 30 November.

Gouws was denied bail in March by a Pretoria magistrate. Singh, who is out on bail, is negotiating a possible plea bargain deal with the prosecution.

The bail application resumes on 30 July.