Senzo Meyiwa murder trial: Did police miss crucial evidence at the crime scene?

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Muzikawukhulelwa S’Tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Sifisokuhle Sifiso Nkani Ntuli in court in October 2021.
Muzikawukhulelwa S’Tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Sifisokuhle Sifiso Nkani Ntuli in court in October 2021.
PHOTO: Gallo Images
  • The first witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial was the forensic field worker who first arrived on the crime scene.
  • The defence counsel for one of the accused has attempted to get the witness to concede that crucial investigations weren't done.
  • These investigations could have either exonerated or implicated those present in the house on the evening that Meyiwa was shot.

Did police fail to collect evidence which could have either exonerated or implicated those present in the house when former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed?

Since the State's first witness, Sergeant Thabo Mosia, has been subjected to cross-examination, advocate Zandile Mshololo, who is representing one of the five men accused of murdering Meyiwa, has pushed the forensic field worker to concede that crucial investigations were not done.

On Friday, Mosia, who was the first forensic expert to arrive on the crime scene, admitted that gunshot residue tests were not done on the people who were present in the Vosloorus house when Meyiwa was shot on 26 October 2014.

These tests detect the presence of chemical compounds that would be deposited on a person's skin or clothes when a firearm is discharged.

Mshololo pointed out to Mosia that his failure to perform those tests meant the investigation was unable to conclusively rule out if any of those in the house were involved in the shooting.

Mshololo pushed Mosia for a reason as to why he did not perform such a crucial test for the investigation.

Mosia responded by explaining that he was controlled by the first officer on the scene, but that he did not do his job in this instance.

On Monday, Mshololo continued to question Mosia about what investigations had not taken place.

ALSO READ | Investigator admits gunshot residue tests weren't done at time of murder

Mshololo asked Mosia whether he had done DNA tests on the vehicle that was used to transport Meyiwa after being shot. She said there was testimony that Meyiwa was bleeding at the time.

Mosia had previously testified that Meyiwa was rushed to a nearby hospital by people who were in the house, after he was shot.

This information was relayed to Mosia by other police officers at the crime scene as Mosia only arrived four hours after the incident, according to his testimony.

Mosia said he had not conducted any tests in the vehicle, nor did he attempt to inspect the vehicle.

She then asked whether police had tracked where the vehicle travelled with the injured Meyiwa as a passenger.

Mosia could not answer this question and explained that his duty was to process the crime scene.

Mshololo's questions appeared to seek answers as to whether Meyiwa was taken straight to the hospital or if he was driven around first deliberately, so that he would not get medical attention in time.

Either way, her questions come back to whether police did investigations to conclusively exonerate or implicate those present in the household.

ALSO READ | Defence claims woman was seen cleaning house after shooting

Meanwhile, advocate Malesela Teffo, who is representing four of the accused, has alleged that Meyiwa was already dead when he was put into the vehicle and taken to hospital by his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo.

Without substantiating, he claimed that this was part of a master plan to cover up who shot Meyiwa. He had previously claimed that an eyewitness would testify that Khumalo shot Meyiwa by mistake.

According to the State, Meyiwa, Khumalo, her mother Gladness, sister Zandile, Zandile's boyfriend Longwe Twala, and two of Meyiwa's friends - Tumelo Madlala and Mthokozisi Thwala - were in the house when two men entered demanding a gun and knife.

There was allegedly a scuffle and Meyiwa was shot in the chest in the process.

Mosia had also not conducted fingerprint tests or DNA tests on the door allegedly used by the accused to gain entry to the house.

He said this was because the door had been used my many people.

Initial investigations

Mshololo had also spent a considerable amount of time questioning Mosia on the fact that he had conducted initial investigations before stopping to call a "crime scene management task team" to assist.

Mosia had previously conceded that during his initial investigation, he only took eight photographs and collected a hat and bullet jacket during his first visit to the crime scene.

He returned hours later where the rest of the investigation took place, which also led to the discovery of a bullet that was found behind jars on a countertop in the kitchen.

ALSO READ | Teffo's bid for a trial within a trial fails as judge dismisses application

Mshololo questioned why only certain photographs were taken during Mosia's first encounter with the crime scene, and why the majority of the images were only captured during his second visit.

For example, photographs of the blood stains in the living room and blood splatter on the kitchen wall were only taken during his second visit.

Mosia said it was an instruction that the task team should be called to assist with the processing of the crime scene.

This is why, according to Mosia, he conducted a preliminary investigation before getting hold of the task team to assist.

Mshololo questioned Mosia's expertise and suggested that he lacked skill and knowledge, which is why he called in the task team.

She also took exception to the fact that Mosia did not speak to witnesses as was led by the former Gauteng head of detectives, Brigadier Philani Ndlovu, when he first arrived on scene and collected evidence.

The defence counsel asked Mosia how he could be sure that Ndlovu was not pointing him in the wrong direction.

Teffo had previously claimed without substantiation that evidence was planted and the crime scene was staged before Mosia arrived.  

Scene tampered with

During his evidence in chief, Mosia testified that he did not think the crime scene was tampered with. This was, he said, by the fact that evidence was available for collection.

However, on Monday, Mshololo presented witness statements which said that a woman, by the name of Maggie Phiri, was seen cleaning the house after the shooting, and before police arrived.

According to the one statement, Phiri was picking up beer bottles from the floor.

When questioned, Phiri allegedly said that she did not want people to see that there had been drinking at the house.

The witness also testified that she saw water on the floor, which was later cleaned up by Phiri.

Another witness statement alleged that Phiri suggested they clean up before the police arrived on scene.

This witness also allegedly saw a lot of empty beer bottles on the floor.

Phiri had also allowed these two people to enter the house which was by then, considered a crime scene.

Mosia had previously testified that he had also seen two alcoholic beverages on which DNA swab tests were conducted. 

Based on the statements, Mshololo put to Mosia that it isn't known what could have been removed from the crime scene or planted at the crime scene.

She also said this was proof that the scene had been tampered with, which contradicted Mosia's evidence in chief.

Mthobisi Mncube, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Ntuli are currently on trial for the murder of Meyiwa.

They have been charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and possession of ammunition.

The trial is expected to continue on Tuesday.

  

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