Wounds cast doubt on ‘self-defence’ claim

2019-11-08 14:45

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The last bit of evidence was heard on Thursday in the inquest hearing into the deaths of five men in Hilton two years ago.

Sthabiso Ngcobo (19), Thokozani Njabulo Khanyile (31), Thuso Lebohang Kuali (26), Siyabonga Siphesihle Mfeka (24) and Ntobeko Mpumelelo Mswane (29) were killed by police, who say they were acting in self-defence.

It is alleged that the men were trying to escape from police in their Mercedes-Benz on March 29, 2017, after allegedly committing a robbery in the Hilton area.

A shootout then took place.

The inquest is taking place at the request of the families of the dead who are being represented by attorney Petrus Coetzee.

Pietermaritzburg magistrate Chris van Vuuren has to decide whether anyone should be held accountable for the deaths.

On Thursday, Dr Kamelia Mancheva was called to testify by the state.

She did the post mortems on the men but could not say if the policemen acted in self-defence or not.

Her findings, however, are that the victims were shot while they were running away.

Mancheva disagreed with the evidence given by another doctor, Segaran Naidoo, this week, where his opinion differed from hers in relation to whether the wounds were exit or entry wounds.

He testified on behalf of the men’s families.

Mancheva said she had performed the actual post mortems while Naidoo based his findings on what was recorded at the scene, on post mortem images and on the post-mortem reports.

Of Ngcobo, Naidoo said he disagreed with the state autopsy report that the two wounds in the chest were entry gunshot wounds. Considering the appearance of the wounds in the autopsy images, as well as images supplied by the families of those who died, his view was that the wounds on the back were entry wounds, leading him to conclude that Ngcobo was shot three times in the back.

With Khanyile, Naidoo said that it was possible that the gunshot was fired at the body from the direction of the feet.

In his report, Naidoo said his general observation was that all five men were found dead outside their vehicle.

He concluded that they were alive and able to exit the vehicle and flee for a distance before they were shot at, leading to their deaths.

He agreed with Mancheva’s findings that there no shots were fired at close range or within contact range.

A date has not yet been arranged for argument and judgment.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court case
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