Homeless attack: Cops and NPA at odds over non-appearance of suspect in court

A stab wound on the arm of the man who claims he was stabbed several times in Magnolia park. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
A stab wound on the arm of the man who claims he was stabbed several times in Magnolia park. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

The police and prosecuting authorities are at odds over the details surrounding the non-appearance in court of a suspect arrested for an attack on a homeless man in Muckleneuck in Pretoria.

The suspect did not appear in court on Friday as was widely expected. 

According to the National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Louw, the matter was not placed on the court roll as the suspect was brought to court after the prescribed 48 hours. 

"A person must be brought to court within 48 hours of their arrest," Louw said. 

Police however denied this, saying the suspect would appear in court on Monday. 

"The man is not released and the case will come on Monday," police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele told News24.

"They spoke [the investigating officer] to the senior public prosecutor. It’s not correct that the person was held for long hours."

Makhubele added that the man would make his first appearance on charges of attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. 

The suspect was supposed to have appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday, police said earlier. 

News24 reported that the man was arrested after a homeless man opened a case this week claiming that he was stabbed earlier this year. 

The man was arrested on Wednesday, according to police. 

News24 has also seen the case docket, where it is noted that the victim was attacked across from Magnolia Park in the early hours of the morning on February 5.  He was allegedly stabbed. 

News24 previously reported that police had tracked down homeless men who said they had been attacked by a man who was wearing a balaclava while they were sleeping. They were also attacked in the Muckleneuk area. 

A homeless man, who did not want to reveal his identity, told News24 that he had woken up in the early hours of the morning last month to find a man violently stabbing him.

The man recounted his ordeal, saying the attack happened around 03:00 and that his attacker was wearing a black hooded jacket and was wielding a large knife.

At this stage, police have not linked the suspect to the spate of murders of homeless people in the area, after a fifth body was discovered in June. 

All five bodies were discovered in the Muckleneuk area. 

Makhubele said they couldn't link the suspect to the murders, but would investigate all angles to see if he could be linked to other cases.

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