Gang trial stalls again

2018-05-03 16:54
Derrick Williams at a previous court appearance.

Derrick Williams at a previous court appearance. (File)

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The much-anticipated trial of two men who were allegedly part of the so-called notorious “Williams gang” has stalled yet again.

Derrick Williams and Sibongiseni Mariken appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday. They face 14 charges in total, including two of murder and five of attempting to murder policemen on whom they opened fire to evade arrest.

Williams’ brother, Ian, was killed in the shootout. It is believed that he was the leader of the local gang.

Advocate Monde Mbaqa told the court that the state is ready to start the trial but the defence team is not. This is because they did not get documents relating to one of the charges.

Mbaqa added that the state received a letter requesting further particulars and he needs to discuss this with the investigating officer.

“This will take us some time to prepare,” he said.

The men’s advocate, Jimmy Howse, SC, confirmed that the requests were made.

The case was adjourned to Monday but indications are that it may not start at all during the current court session.

The state alleges that the Williams brothers and Mariken, along with Lwazi Xulu and their accomplices, decided and conspired to steal from various businesses and homesteads in the province. On April 25, 2016, they stole a Toyota double-cab bakkie valued at about R119 000 in Town Bush Road, Montrose.

Then on April 30, they attempted to steal a silver Peugeot in Town Hill. However, their plan was thwarted by police who tried to stop them.

Instead of surrendering or fleeing, they began shooting at the police officers, who retaliated. Ian and Xulu were killed in the shootout while Derrick and Mariken were wounded.

The men have been charged with the murder of their alleged partners in crime as they engaged in a gun battle with police knowing that anyone could be killed.

Firearms and live rounds of ammunition were recovered from the scene of the shooting. Williams and Mariken are also charged for illegally possessing them.

Both men are out on bail. They were granted bail in 2016 after initially being refused bail.

A few weeks after Mariken was denied bail the first time, he re-applied and was released on strict conditions due to medical evidence that doctors needed to perform a CAT scan on him to determine if the bullets that were still lodged in his brain could further harm him.

The procedure could not be carried out while Mariken stayed in custody.

Williams was granted bail in November that year, after he brought another application based on “new facts”.

The decision of the court to release him, also on strict conditions, was based mainly on the length of time that he had spent in custody awaiting trial without a trial date having been set in the matter

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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