Crime scene was still active - expert

2012-10-30 22:42

Rustenburg - A crime scene expert told the Farlam Commission on Tuesday that when he arrived at the small hill in Wonderkop where 13 people were killed, the crime scene was still active.

Captain Apollo Mohlaki said he arrived at scene two, known as the small hill, around 16:00 on 16 August and processed the scene until 15:10 the next day.

Commission chair, retired judge Ian Farlam, interjected and double-checked the time of arrival with Mohlaki pointing out that this was the time the shooting happened.

"When I got there the scene was still active," said Mohlaki.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga asked: "Was there any shooting taking place when you arrived there?"

Mohlaki said there was not, and proceeded to explain that he had been requested to be on stand-by and had been at a police holding area at the Lonmin mine since the morning.

This followed after an early morning police briefing at the joint operational centre (JOC) where he and three colleagues were briefed to be on stand-by.

Mohlaki said he was told there was a possibility that mineworkers, gathering on a hill in Wonderkop, would have dangerous traditional weapons and have unlawful ammunition.

It would be his job to document these weapons once the miners were disarmed.

Mohlaki's evidence in chief was expected to continue on Wednesday.

Earlier, the commission wrapped up its three-day cross-examination of crime scene technician Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Johannes Botha.

Botha was tasked with filming the police disarming and dispersing operation on 16 August from a helicopter.

However, Botha's footage did not capture the shooting at scene one, at the kraal, or scene two at the small hill.

He said he had only heard of the shooting when he was back on the ground.

Following the shooting police held a nine-day debriefing in Potchefstroom.

Botha told the commission he could not recall if his video was watched at the meeting or what was specifically discussed at the meeting.

He said during the meeting he was asked about crime scenes which had been processed.

Botha was grilled by advocates for the different parties after he could not recall key details of the operation.

There were four helicopters in the air that day, two of which belonged to police. It was not known if video was taken from the other three.

Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the Legal Resource Centre (LRC), asked Botha if he knew that the water cannons also had video recorders fitted onto them.

Botha said no, he had never been in a cannon.

Two other crime scene experts testified on Tuesday about murders committed on 12 and 13 August.

Captain Moses Moshwane processed the scene where two "civilian" bodies were found in Donkerhoek.

He also assisted at scene one on 16 August.

Warrant Officer Frederick Opperman processed the scene where two Lonmin security guards were burnt and hacked to death.

  • lsfreak - 2012-10-30 23:29

    Looking more and more suspect all this polce shooting... Wonder how Zipper is gonna tell the media to not report this :D

      andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-10-31 07:23

      People seem to think that chopper crews can hear small arms fire on the ground when they are airborne. This is not necessarily the case. It is no use criticizing Botha because the he did not pilot the chopper and the pilot did not know that the firing was eminent at that time. I know because I flew choppers in war time.

      flysouth - 2012-10-31 10:41

      Engine and other sounds (propeller, rotor, slipstream) in a light aircraft, including small helicopters are very loud - so much so that conversation between two people sitting right next to each other is difficult without headsets and an intercom. Gunshots, even when you are on the ground and say 100 metes away, are not actually all that loud. Rifle shots are often quieter than pistol shots because of barrel length and consequent sound absorption. Those in the helicopter at an altitude of approx. 300 feet above ground level or so would probably not have heard a thing in fact.

  • grant.montgomery.5074 - 2012-10-31 01:48

    I suspect Mr Botha is a little slow in coming forward...

  • shireen.abbas - 2012-10-31 06:27

    Just plain sick how people try to condone these miners violent actionS !! U bring weapons up against policE u die n klA !get this bS off the news !

  • Sakhiwo - 2012-10-31 08:20

    Botha is just lying about everything.He must have destroyed the footage.He is talking blue lies when he says he has never been in the cannon.

      claudia.meads - 2012-10-31 11:29

      Who told you this - your ancestors..? Or perhaps the rabit you saw after you took the Marikana-muti..?

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