No physical evidence of police torture on Sinoxolo murder accused – district surgeon

(Supplied)
(Supplied)

Cape Town - Two cousins who claimed they were assaulted after their arrest for the rape and murder of Khayelitsha teen Sinoxolo Mafevuka showed no sign of any injury, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Dr Sakhumzi Radana, a district surgeon based at Khayelitsha Hospital, testified that he had not noted any wounds on the bodies of cousins Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika when they were brought to him in March 2016.

The duo claims that they were assaulted and tortured by police while in custody.

Radana explained that while he did not remember the specific consultation, the J88 form – a document used to record medical evidence for legal purposes - contained all the information he noted during the exam.

The purpose of the visit was to collect DNA, however, an examination "from head to toe" was standard operating procedure, he testified.

Neither of the accused had told Radana of an alleged assault at the hands of police officers.

Xolisa claims he had been hit on the lower front part of his leg, while Athabile alleges his handcuffs were fastened too tightly and he had been suffocated with a plastic bag.

Radana said both were told to undress for the examination and no injuries to either were noted.

Both, however, deny that they had removed their clothes.

No bruising was noted on Xolisa’s leg, and Athabile’s wrists were uninjured.

Manhandling allegations 

Radana explained that suffocation could result in the rupturing of small blood vessels around the eyes and lips. None were seen or recorded.

"I am duty bound to report on any torture of people brought in to see me," he told the court, insisting that there had been none to record.

Earlier in the trial, detective sergeant Bradley Davids, stationed at Harare police station, dismissed the manhandling allegations made after the cousins were taken in for questioning.

He recalled that at the time the men were nervous and were handcuffed with their hands behind their backs.

"There was no other physical contact between the investigator and the accused or myself and the accused. They were not injured in any way," he had testified. 

Mafevuka, 19, was found dead in a communal toilet in SST 2 Block, Town Two, in Khayelitsha on March 2, 2016.

She was naked and her clothes had been stuffed in the toilet cistern.

Advocate Mornay Calitz, for Xolisa, said he intended to apply that the court dismiss the case against his client in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, once the State has concluded its case.

An accused may be discharged if there is no possibility of a conviction; if the court takes into account the credibility of the State witnesses; or where the State witnesses' evidence implicating the accused is of such poor quality that it cannot safely be relied upon.

The trial continues on Tuesday.


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