Judgment due in Tibbetts case

2015-03-18 16:19
Lindray Khakhu (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Lindray Khakhu (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Judgement is expected to be handed down in the case of the man accused of killing Westbury toddler Luke Tibbetts in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg sitting in Palm Ridge next Friday.

"The case will then be postponed for judgment to Friday the 27 March 2015 at 10:00," said Judge Matthew Klein on Wednesday.

Lindray Khakhu, 22, is on trial for two murders, including that of 3-year-old Tibbetts, five counts of attempted murder, 10 of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one of pointing a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges.

Tibbetts was shot in the head in Steytler Street, Westbury, Johannesburg, on 2 August last year while sitting on his mother's lap in a car, as Khakhu allegedly shot at Keenan Mokwena who was in another car.

Mokwena was wounded. Tibbetts died in hospital six days later.

The defence's case ended prematurely after the judge dismissed its application for a postponement to call another ballistics expert to testify about the bullet that hit the car Tibbetts was in.

Sog van Eck, for Khakhu, claimed that state witness and ballistics expert Major Chris Mangena had not established what caused the damage on the bullet which hit Tibbetts and whether or not it had been shot straight at the car or had ricocheted.

"Further postponement would not be in the interest of justice and therefore the application for further postponement is denied," said Klein.

"I am of the opinion that it will not really take the matter further... it will not really make a difference in the case of the accused.

"Why I say this is because the accused in this court more or less said 'I was drunk, it happened very fast... it must have been me that shot the car, it must have been me that hit the little boy'."

Two police officers meant to testify as witnesses for the defence did not arrive in court on Wednesday. The one could not be contacted and the other was on maternity leave.

Cop admits error

Earlier, a police officer who took a witness statement in Khakhu's case admitted that he may not have followed procedure.

Prosecutor Deon van Wyk established that Constable Julius Rakubu had not told a witness that his evidence could be used in court before taking his statement.

"You never mentioned that you gave him this long explanation so that he understands the consequences of making this statement," Van Wyk said.

"Yes sir, I agree with you that it's possible that I may have made a mistake," Rabuku said.

Van Wyk also pointed out that in the case of both Rakubu and Constable Pumlani Mthethwa, who testified earlier, they had been taking statements in a language other than their mother tongue and this might have led to misunderstandings.

Constable Derick Masonto from the Sophiatown police station revealed that the police officers who took down statements in the days following Tibbetts's shooting had not been properly briefed on what had happened.

Van Wyk also pointed out to him that at least one of the witness statements had not been stamped with an official police stamp.

After court adjourned, Khakhu leaned over the dock and spoke quietly to his family who stood in a huddle around him.

He held and kissed his 4-month-old baby boy.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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