Verulam mosque attack case to get new prosecutor

2019-04-16 15:50
Accused in the Verulam mosque attack case hide their faces from members of the media in court.

Accused in the Verulam mosque attack case hide their faces from members of the media in court.

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The prosecutor in the Verulam mosque attack case is set to be replaced.

State prosecutor Adele Barnard, who has to travel from Gauteng, told the court during a short appearance on Monday that the National Director of Public Prosecutions had decided to withdraw her and replace her with a “local” prosecutor.

The court was on Monday supposed to hear evidence of voice recognition of accused Farhad Hoomer, who is alleged to be the kingpin of the group, which could link him to evidence the state has.

Out of an initial group of 19 men who were arrested in a large raid at a Durban home last October, 12 stand accused on a range of charges related to an attack at the Imam Hussein Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam.

A worshipper was killed and two others stabbed in the incident, and an incendiary device was ignited at the mosque.

The group are also allegedly linked to explosive devices found at various Durban businesses, including Woolworths outlets.

Last November, they were granted bail ranging from R3 000 to R200 000 after a marathon bail application, where they all spent 53 days in jail. One accused, Goolam Mohammed Rashid Haffejee, was granted bail of R100 000 earlier than his co-accused.

Barnard said they were on Monday unable to bring an expert to testify about the voice samples because of budget constraints.

Attorneys acting on behalf of the accused were not impressed with the state.

Hoomer’s advocate, Jimmy Howse, said they had expected the voice sample expert to testify on Monday.

He said, however, that it would be best to wait for the new state attorney before beginning that testimony. “The accused were arrested many months ago and we have repeatedly expressed concern about the length of time the state is taking to investigate the matter. This is one of those cases where the state arrested first and investigated later,” said Howse.

He said he would bring an application in the event that the matter was not being “expeditiously dealt with”.

Barnard explained that she informed the defence attorneys last week that the expert would not be available, and said she had only found out on Monday morning that the matter would get a new prosecutor.

The 12 accused covered their faces to hide from media as they left the dock after the matter was adjourned to next month.

The 12 accused are: Farhad Hoomer; Ahmad Haffejee; Goolam Mohammed Rashid Haffejee; Mohammed Akbar; Muhammed Adil Sobrun; Omar Iddy; Ndikumana Shabani Umande; Thabit Said Mwenda; Mohammed Seidth; Abubakar Ali; Abasi Juma and Amani Mayan

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  verulam mosque attack
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