Witness too hung over to testify in Sidwell flats case
THE murder trial of three friends – just teenagers at the time – who allegedly threw their neighbour off a twostorey building was brought to an abrupt halt yesterday when the state’s main witness said she was too hungover to continue testifying.
Mona Joseph had earlier told the Port Elizabeth Regional Court how she was forced to watch helplessly as Hezeron Webber, 20, Dylan Senekal, 21, and Kevin Barrington, 20, all of Sidwell, beat up her boyfriend before pushing him to his death in April 2013.
Roibin Hearne, 27, was declared dead at the scene.
His mother sat quietly at the back of the court yesterday, crying as the details of her son’s death were revealed.
She ran out as soon as the matter was postponed.
The families of the accused lingered in the court building.
Webber, Senekal and Barrington pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder at the start of the trial yesterday.
They opted not to disclose their defence at this stage.
Barrington pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Later, Joseph said she drank on Tuesday night and well into yesterday, and agreed that she was not in a state to continue with her testimony.
Following their arrest more than two years ago, and because Webber and Barrington were under 18 at the time, the case was heard in the juvenile court at Nerina House.
The case was transferred to the regional court in late 2013, when all three had turned 18.
The petite Joseph had spoken softly earlier as she recalled the harrowing events of the day in question.
She said she had been drinking with Hearne and two friends at O’Malley’s Pub in Sidwell on the night of April 5 2013.
They were walking back to their Tuna Hof, Gould Street, block of flats at around 1.30am, when they saw Senekal, Barrington, and another person, lingering outside the pub.
She did not know the third person’s name.
“They followed us. All of a sudden, Kevin started hitting Roibin,” Joseph said.
“[Kevin] slapped and kicked him and trampled him.
“Dylan then hit him and he fell. Dylan took Roibin’s cigarettes and [house] keys and threw them away.”
Atlas Security guards broke up the fight. Senekal, Barrington and their friend fled.
She said Hearne was beaten so badly she had to help him walk home.
However, on reaching the block of flats a short while later, Senekal and Barrington returned, this time with Webber.
She said they had followed them up the stairs leading to Hearne’s flat, continuously hitting him as they went along.
Barrington allegedly slammed her face into the wall and hit her.
“We banged on the door for Roibin’s brother, Wes, to open up. He couldn’t because he didn’t have keys,” Joseph said
“Wes passed him a knife through the kitchen window so that he could defend himself.
“That was when they threw him off the balcony,” she said
His body lay motionless in a pool of blood below.
The motive for the alleged attack has not yet come to light.
Joseph’s testimony was brought to a halt, and the case postponed to today when magistrate Tobie Gerber questioned her level of sobriety as it seemed Joseph was battling to follow proceedings.