Court will see CCTV footage in renowned artist's trial

2015-06-15 11:52
Zwelethu Mthethwa. Picture: Deon Raath

Zwelethu Mthethwa. Picture: Deon Raath

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Cape Town - A court will need to scrutinise video footage which the State alleges shows renowned artist Zwelethu Mthethwa kicking and stomping a sex worker to death, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday.

His lawyer had challenged the authenticity of the CCTV footage and asked for a trial-within-a-trial to determine whether it could be admitted as evidence.

Judge Patricia Goliath ruled that such a trial-within-a-trial would go ahead, but she disagreed with the defence when it said authenticity could be determined without actually watching the footage.

She said the court was obliged to view the footage, which the State held as an important part of its evidence.

“The question of authenticity involves various aspects, such as accuracy, reliability and veracity of the CCTV evidence,” she said, as Mthethwa looked on in his standard formal black attire and glasses.

Goliath said viewing the footage would not prejudice the accused in any way.

Mthethwa is accused of kicking sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo to death in Woodstock, Cape Town, on April 14 2013.

The State alleges that CCTV footage captured the artist stopping his black Porche 911 Carrera close to Kumalo in Ravenscraig Road early that morning.

It further alleges that the footage shows the accused exiting his vehicle and “repeatedly kicking her and stamping on her body with booted feet”.

She died as a result of blunt-force trauma.

The court would need to determine whether the images shown in the footage were a true and accurate reflection of what happened, and had not been altered, interfered with or manipulated.

The trial-within-a-trial was separate from the main trial and would not determine the innocence or guilt of the artist. Rather, the court would decide whether the footage could be admitted after hearing evidence from both state and defence witnesses.

The State was expected to call its first witnesses in the trial-within-a-trial later on Monday morning.

Mthethwa, born in Durban, is known for his large-format colour photographs, paintings and pastels of people in townships, informal settlements and rural areas.

He has exhibited widely in the US, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa and Switzerland. 

Read more on:    zwelethu mthethwa  |  cape town  |  crime

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