- Four men and a minor arrested in 2021 in connection with the murder of two police officers will now go on trial in July.
- The Mareetsane officers attended to a stock theft complaint in 2021 and went missing.
- Their remains were later discovered in their burnt out state vehicle.
The murder trial of four men and a minor accused of killing two North West police officers will go ahead in July.
"On Wednesday, 15 March 2023, the defence attorneys submitted a guilty plea proposal to the State, which was ultimately rejected due to the 16-year-old who is standing trial in this matter."
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Henry Mamothame said the trial was set to start between 13 and 17 March, however, it was rolled over the first day to allow some defence attorneys to make final consultations with their clients.
"On Wednesday, 15 March 2023, the defence attorneys submitted a guilty plea proposal to the State, which was ultimately rejected as it was deemed not to be [in the] interest of justice. This resulted in a new date being agreed on by the court and all parties involved," added Mamothame.
ALSO READ | Eastern Cape police arrest alleged kidnappers who demanded cash, livestock as ransom
He said the court sitting was declared a juvenile court due to one of the accused being a minor.
"The 16-year-old was granted R1 000 bail in October 2021 and was left under the care of a guardian. Meanwhile, the other four were denied bail and will remain in police custody until the matter is completed," added Mamothame.
The accused are charged with murder, malicious damage to property, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of ammunition, possession of a semi-automatic firearm, kidnapping, possession of ammunition with intent to commit an offence, and defeating the ends of justice.
Mamothame said according to a police report, the two officers attended a stock theft incident in Mareestane but did not return to the station and were declared missing.
"Upon arrest, police discovered the deceased's firearm, two cellphones, [and] SIM cards that were destroyed and thrown in a pit toilet at the home of one of the accused," he added.
Their trial has been postponed to 24 July 2023.