'Unacceptable': Judge fumes as two police witnesses fail to arrive for Meghan Cremer murder trial

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Jeremy Sias.
Jeremy Sias.
Jaco Marais
  • Sergeants Sigqibo Cekiso and Reagan Claassen failed to pitch at the Western Cape High Court on Monday to testify in the Meghan Cremer murder trial.
  • Prosecutor Emily van Wyk told an unimpressed Judge Elizabeth Baartman that she had been unable to reach either officer, despite both being informed that their testimony was required.
  • During the trial, the murder accused claimed to have been assaulted by police following his arrest in connection with the discovery of her missing car.

The State on Monday requested that warrants be issued for two police officers who failed to appear to testify in the trial-within-a-trial of  Meghan Cremer murder accused Jeremy Sias in the Western Cape High Court.

Sergeants Sigqibo Cekiso and Reagan Claassen, from the provincial dog unit, were expected to testify regarding the admissibility of admissions made by Sias prior to him pointing out the body of the 29-year-old woman who was strangled with a blue ribbon on 3 August 2019.

Sias claimed his admissions were made under duress and following an assault by the police, including Cekiso and Claassen.

Both officers had been told to report to testify on Monday. Neither showed up.

READ | Meghan Cremer's face was so badly disfigured that family identified her by jewellery, mom tells court

Prosecutor Emily van Wyk told an unimpressed Judge Elizabeth Baartman that she had been unable to reach either, despite both being informed last week their testimony was required.

Shortly before midday, efforts to reach the officers remained unsuccessful. Their colleagues had gone to their homes to check if they were there, but no one had answered, Van Wyk said.

Bashier Sibda, for Sias, said there was “no excuse” for the two officers being unreachable.

“They had to at least leave their phones on. A reason must be given,” he insisted.

meghan cremer
Meghan Cremer.

Baartman agreed, saying it was unacceptable. The matter was postponed to Wednesday for the trial-within-a-trial to continue.

During the trial, Sias claimed to have been assaulted by police following his arrest in connection with the discovery of her missing car.

The driver had told Cekiso and his two colleagues from the dog unit, who had pulled over the vehicle for being on the road without numberplates, that he had gotten the car from Sias.

According to Cekiso’s testimony earlier in the trial, Sias had reportedly instructed the driver to sell it.

Sias claims to have been assaulted by police officers, including Cekiso and Claassen, who had allegedly also set a patrol dog on him.

He led police to Cremer’s body days later, walking through the unlit Philippi farmlands to where he had dumped her and covered her with a branch.

Meghan Cremer
Meghan Cremer’s mother, Gill, pictured outside court.

According to Sias, this was after he had been threatened, assaulted and intimidated by police so he could "benefit from promises" made to him to go on trial in a lower court, thereby facing a lesser sentence.

Sias denies killing Cremer, but admitted to disposing of her body after he discovered it in the boot of her Toyota Auris. He claimed he had found Cremer's car, with the key in the ignition, at Vaderlandsche Rietvlei Farm, where he was employed as a general worker, and where Cremer lived.

According to Sias, he had taken Cremer's car for a joyride on 3 August. He supposedly found her remains later that night while rifling through the vehicle. He dumped her body on a farm in Olieboom Road, Philippi, because he feared he would be accused of her murder.

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