Defence lawyer questions whether PI and police legally gained access to accused's home

2018-05-11 18:56
Siam Lee. (Image via Facebook)

Siam Lee. (Image via Facebook)

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It was a fiery start for the defence team in the Siam Lee murder trial in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday as Philani Ntuli's lawyer Martin Krog questioned the legality of the procedure police used to gain access to his home. 

Krog tackled Detective Warrant Officer Rajan Govender, who resumed his testimony.

Krog largely focused on the role played by private investigation firm Brad Nathanson Investigations and the police.

He focused on the role Nathanson and his investigative team played in the arrest and also questioned the legality of their access to Ntuli's home.

Ntuli is accused of murdering and kidnapping Lee. Her body was discovered earlier this year in a field in New Hanover.

Krog said he would show that the search and seizure of Ntuli's home and vehicles, which has often been a point of discussion, was illegal.

According to Krog, Nathanson and his team were merely civilians who accessed Ntuli's home illegally during his arrest.

He argued that it would have been easy for Nathanson and his team to compromise evidence if they had access to the home before the authorities.

Compromising evidence

Krog also produced a picture that Nathanson posted on his Facebook page, and by default to his 60 000 followers, in which he and his team appeared to be placing Ntuli under arrest. This, he said, compromised the identity parade that was held after it was published.

Krog also said that Nathanson, a civilian, got access to Ntuli's home without police being present.

"Nathanson went to the house in the absence of police. Nathanson made the arrest. If police were there during that picture, the police would not have allowed that. We can assume they were alone."

But Govender said the authenticity of the picture had not been tested.

To this, Krog said: "The prosecutor had no objection to the picture. No one has contested it."

He also questioned how police got access to the home.

"We know the accused was away and wasn't there. How did they get into his premises? They must have displaced something. Did they cut the wire? [Did they] immobilise the gate somehow?"

By lunch, Krog asked Govender to "read over evidence because, when we return, I have a lot more questions".

Magistrate Mahomed Motala also agreed that the legality of authorities in the home was a vital aspect in the matter.

"It is fundamental to know if they got in legally or illegally."

The bail application continues.

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Read more on:    siam lee  |  durban  |  court  |  crimes

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