Cops forced us to confess - suspected robbers

2015-05-15 17:17
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Mbombela - Three men accused of shooting dead three people during a robbery in Mpumalanga three years ago have told a high court that police forced them to confess to the crime.

Ndala Lazzy Chiloane, 34, and Respect Mokone, 26, both from Acornhoek, and George Mashaba, 34, from Lilly Dale, appeared in the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

They pleaded not guilty to 14 charges, including three murders, four attempted murders, three armed robberies, two counts of illegal possession of firearms and another two counts of illegal possession of ammunition.

The court heard that three men fitting the description of the accused shot dead two security guards, Calvin Nkhathi and Peaceful Siwelane, and wounded four other people during an armed robbery in Thulamahashe near Bushbuckridge on February 23 2012.

The court also heard that the three shot dead another person, Phanuel Hlomula Chawane, on February 25, before robbing him of R300 and his vehicle.

Security guard Patrick Mafuyeka testified that he was stationed at Rolle Railway Station on February 23 2012, when three armed men accosted them.

“I was in the guard house with Zodwa Ndlovu and Calvin Nkathi. The accused demanded firearms, money and cellphones. After Ndlovu was escorted outside by one of them, Chiloane fired shots. I heard Nkathi screaming that he'd been shot. I got shot in my left leg,” he said.

He said five shots were fired.

Nkathi died on the scene after being shot in the stomach.

Mafuyeka said the men robbed them of two 9mm pistols, two .38 special revolvers and cellphones.

“I could only identify Chiloane. He was the one standing next to me and he also did the shootings,” he said.

Josias Maphosa testified he was with other people inside a café at the station when three armed men confronted them.

“I was escorted with Kenneth Nqulela into a room, where we were both tied with belts. The men brought two others, Believe and Peaceful Siwelane. They later escorted them outside and shots were fired,” he said.

Believe was wounded and Peaceful died instantly after sustaining a gunshot wound to the chest.

Maphosa said although there was enough light in the café and room, he could not identify his attackers.

“I never fought back, never threatened them. I had nothing with me,” he said.

He said after their arrest, police arrived with Chiloane at the café, where they took photographs.

“When I saw him, I knew he was the one who attacked us,” he said.

Chiloane's lawyer, advocate Melanie Erasmus, argued that her client was shown to Maphosa and Believe when photos were being taken at the scene, before a police identity parade could be held.

The defence called for a trial-within-a-trial.

The State said it would call witnesses for the trial-within-a-trial following the accused's claims of police coercion.

Judge Peter Mabuse postponed the case to May 25. 

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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