Stadium footage is admissible in Malema's firearm discharge trial, court rules

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EFF leader Julius Malema and his legal representative, senior counsel, advocate Laurence Hodes.
EFF leader Julius Malema and his legal representative, senior counsel, advocate Laurence Hodes.
Johnnie Isaac
  • The gun case of EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan Snyman, resumed in the East London Regional Court on Tuesday.
  • Malema stands accused of firing a rifle at the EFF's fifth anniversary celebrations at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane in 2018.
  • The EFF leader faces charges of the illegal possession of firearms, contravention of the Firearms Control Act, the illegal possession of ammunition and reckless endangerment to persons or property.

The East London Regional court ruled in favour of the State using video footage of EFF leader Julius Malema discharging a firearm during the party's fifth birthday celebrations at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London in 2018.

The authenticity of the video footage at the centre of the State's case against Malema and his bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, was brought into question by the defence. 

Malema and Snyman were charged for the contravention of the Firearms Control Act after the video emerged showing the EFF leader firing an automatic rifle at the stadium in 2018.

Magistrate Twanet Olivier ruled that the State can use the video footage, based on its relevance, and rejected the defence's suggestion for a trial-within-a-trial and instead ordered that the trial continue. 

Olivier said the defence would get an opportunity to contest the authenticity of the evidence through cross examination and could canvass the matter when it presented its own case.

Olivier said:

Various articles express the view that graphics, audio, videos are regarded as real evidence. Real evidence, therefore, differs from documentary evidence in that it is never excluded but it has to be relevant. Once it's received, its authenticity, accuracy and interpretations may be disputed.

The State called Sibusiso Ngcobo, an employee of Gearhouse, which supplied the EFF with a stage and audio-visual equipment for the event.

Ngcobo told the court that he worked as a vision mixer and on the day he was feeding visuals to the big screens that were set up around the stadium.

He testified that Gearhouse had two cameramen at the event who were feeding his visual mixer.

Three different video clips were played in court during his testimony and Ngcobo said two of the clips could have been captured by the Gearhouse team.

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In one of the video clips a rifle shot could be heard but the person firing could not be seen.

However, Ngcobo said the video footage of Malema firing a rifle was not captured by the company's camera operators as the person who captured it was at the back of the stage where there wasn't a Gearhouse camera operator.

The trial continues.

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