NPA blames cops for messy Taegrin investigation

2014-11-19 22:31
Taegrin Morris. (Facebook)

Taegrin Morris. (Facebook)

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Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has blamed the police for the withdrawal of charges against the man arrested for the murder of 4-year-old Taegrin Morris.

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube told Sapa on Wednesday evening the police's identification parade did not follow the correct procedures.

Also, there was little other evidence connecting the man to the botched hijacking in Reiger Park, south of Johannesburg, earlier this year, that left the young boy dead.

"We find it regrettable that we have two senior police officers that have gone public in calling our official a liar," Mncube said.

"They have basically blamed the NPA for the withdrawal of the matter without any legal grounds for withdrawing the case."

This meant they were accusing the NPA of defeating the ends of justice, he said.

"Of course, we will challenge anyone who is saying that there were no grounds for withdrawing the case, to check the legal action."

Earlier on Wednesday, Gauteng police commissioner Lesetja Mothiba said the prosecutor who withdrew charges against Morris's alleged killer must explain the decision.

"I wanted him here to tell us why the case was withdrawn," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event marking International Men's Day in Reiger Park, on the East Rand.

Last week, the Boksburg Magistrate's Court withdrew all charges against Thamsanqa Twala, who was accused of involvement in the death of Morris during a hijacking.

Mothiba said the senior prosecutor had stated the charges were withdrawn because police had not followed procedure. It was not clear which procedures were not followed.

Mothiba said Morris's mother Chantel was the only witness in the case and had identified Twala during an identity parade.

"The police did their job. We picked the best detectives for this case. The prosecutor was happy after the first appearance in court," Mothiba said.

Twala had been arrested for another hijacking case, he said.

"This case was never about the quality of the investigation. We have raised this matter with the directorate of public prosecutions... everything is possible from now on," he said.

Mncube said the ID parade procedure was provided for in law.

"It is not according to our needs at the NPA or according to the needs by SAPS. The standard is set by law that must be met and we have case law that is very strong on how this ID parade should be held," he said.

ID parade

The standard was that the ID parade be held without the investigating officer partaking in the parade process.

Further, the people brought to the line-up with the suspect must be of the same age, more or less the same height, and must as far as possible be wearing the same clothes as the suspect.

"And of course it is important for the witness to indicate that they will be able to identify the suspect if they were to see them again," Mncube said.

"In this case the complainant, when she was interviewed by our prosecutor, she informed her that she told the police that she was not sure if she would be able to ID the suspect."

The only feature the woman could remember and recognise was the nose. The ID parade held four months after the crime had taken place.

"The people who were in the line-up were not in the same age group as the accused, they were not of the same height as the accused, they were not of the same clothes as the accused," Mncube said.

"That is the only evidence that you have. There is no finger print evidence that links Mr Twala to the crime that took place."

The NPA's responsibility was to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt.

"We are of the view that with all these challenges, there are definitely no prospects of a successful prosecution, and therefore we decided that we are going to withdraw the matter."

He said if there was a need, the police must make the docket available to the Reiger Park community, so they would be able to see what was in the docket and make an informed decision.

"We are available for such a process," Mncube said.

Morris was killed when his parents' Volkswagen Golf was hijacked in Reiger Park, south of Johannesburg, in July.

Three men approached the car in which Morris, his sister and parents were travelling, and ordered the family out.

The boy was caught in his seatbelt and was dragged along the road as the hijackers drove off. The car was abandoned in Boksburg.

Read more on:    police  |  npa  |  taegrin morris  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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