Senzo Meyiwa defence lawyers in the dark about new witness statement
Case rolled over to Thursday
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng has granted the defence lawyers representing the five men accused of killing soccer star Senzo Meyiwa a full day to consult with their clients.
This is after they told the Pretoria high court on Wednesday they were not timeously provided with the statement of the witness who was expected to take the stand in the morning.
Mokgoatlheng said if the court allowed proceedings to continue, it would be committing an irregularity which would result in a failure of justice.
Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli are accused of killing the Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates football star.
When proceedings started on Wednesday, state prosecutor George Baloyi informed the court the next witness is a Const Zungu.
Advocate Zandile Mshololo, representing Ntuli, said the statement of the witness was not furnished to the defence before the trial started.
“We were furnished with the statement last night and we have not been given hard copies. We have not consulted with our clients regarding the statement,” Mshololo said.
The other defence teams said they were in a similar situation.
Advocate Charles Mnisi said he didn't know about the existence of the statement. He said Baloyi had told him in the morning he had sent him the statement through WhatsApp.
“I don't know whether the witness the state intends to call now is the witness whose statement he furnished but if that is the case, that's a very serious irregularity,” Mnisi said.
Advocate Zithulele Nxumalo, representing Maphisa, said he received the typed version this morning when he arrived at court.
Baloyi said the aim was not to catch the defence unaware. He said the state received a copy from the investigating team yesterday and immediately sent it to the defence.
Mokgoatlheng said the critical point was that the defence must be provided with the information timeously.
The defence said they would need a day to consult and prepare their defence.
Mokgoatlheng said the accused are entitled to adequate notification of documents supporting the case of the state. “If we proceeded today, it would be an infringement of the accused's rights in terms of section 35 of the constitution,” he said.
The trial has been rolled over to Thursday.
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