Christopher Panayiotou’s lawyer has accused a policeman of being part of a team which assaulted alleged triggerman Sizwezakhe Vumazonke after his arrest.
Constable Thapelo Mabija of the Provincial Tracking Team in Zwelitsha said he arrested Vumazonke, 36, on May 3 last year.
“I received a call from Brigadier McLaren on April 30 to assist in the arrest of a suspect,” Mabija told the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday.
He said his team travelled to Port Elizabeth where they were briefed about the investigation and shown pictures of the suspect, as well as details of the vehicle he was traveling in.
Mabija and his team first travelled to Cape Town after receiving information that Vumazonke was in the area visiting friends.
But they returned to PE after a source informed them that he had been spotted in KwaNobuhle.
During the early hours of May 3, Mabija and three other officers went to a tavern in KwaNobuhle, where Vumazonke was drinking with friends.
They waited for him to exit the tavern before effecting the arrest at around 1:30am.
“We were told he was a dangerous person and was possibly armed so we waited for him to approach his vehicle parked outside.
“Mabija said Vumazonke tried to run when they introduced themselves to him. In the process of placing him in the police van and due to him resisting arrest, he sustained an injury to his eye.
Vumazonke was taken to Kabega Park police station at around 2am, when members of Organised Crime took over.
Mabija said he noted Vumazonke’s injury in his police pocket book which has since gone missing.
But advocate Terry Price SC said this was an excuse used far too often.
After demanding to see the pocket book and the alleged entry made, Mabija said he would make every effort to find it.
Price said Mabija “was not telling the truth” and that Vumazonke was taken to a Despatch police station before being booked into Kabega Park shortly before 6am.
He wanted to know what happened to Vumazonke in that four hour period and accused Mabija of being part of a team that assaulted him.
“I’m going to show this court you are lying. You are part of a team that beat him up,” said Price, presenting him with a photograph of Vumazonke with a swollen eye.
Mabija said all accused persons accused police of assault. Testimony continues.