Senzo Meyiwa murder trial: Defence raises ‘irregularities’ over second docket

The trial against the five men charged with the murder of former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa is set to resume on Tuesday, in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Senzo Meyiwa murder trial

The trial, which has faced several snags along the way since it started earlier this year, was meant to resume on Monday with the testimony of forensic officer Sergeant Thabo Johannes Mosia.

However, the defence for accused number five brought a special entry application, arguing that there were several irregularities concerning the trial, specifically over the late disclosure of the infamous second docket known as case 375.

Meyiwa was killed on 26 October 2014, in an alleged botched robbery at the Vosloorus home of his then-girlfriend and singer, Kelly Khumalo.

Five men – Sifisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Ncube and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa – are standing trial for the soccer star’s murder.

All five accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Second docket

During Monday’s court proceedings, Advocate Zandile Mshololo – acting on behalf of accused number five, Sifisokuhle Ntuli – brought a special entry application related to the second docket.

The second docket implicates Khumalo and six other witnesses who were inside her mother’s Vosloorus home when Meyiwa was shot and killed in 2014.

The witnesses included Khumalo’s mother – Gladness, her sister – Zandile, Zandile’s boyfriend – Longwe Thwala and Meyiwa’s friend -Tumelo Madlala.

ALSO READ: NPA to decide if Kelly Khumalo and co will be prosecuted for Senzo Meyiwa murder

It is on the basis of this second docket that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced last week that it would take a decision on whether to prosecute the witnesses after the finalisation of the current trial against the five accused men.

Late disclosure of second docket

Advocate Mshololo argued that the State’s late disclosure of the second docket, midway through the trial, had highlighted several irregularities concerning the trial against her client.

Mshololo contended that the alleged failure by the State to furnish the defence with the contents of the docket had prejudiced Ntuli and his constitutional rights to a fair trial.

READ MORE: Kelly, other witnesses hiding things about Senzo’s murder – former investigating officer

She argued that had the information been disclosed prior to her client’s pleading, the defence would have been able to adequately prepare for trial.

“The applicant, in this case, has not been afforded with sufficient information, which was available to the State in order for him to be able to prepare his defence and, therefore, a violation has been created by such conduct of the state,” Mshololo said.

‘Same facts of case we’re dealing with’

She argued the second docket was crucial to the current trial as it contained the affidavit of the investigating officer and photo albums of the crime scene.

The docket, Mshololo further argued, would contradict the testimony of Sergeant Mosia.

“It contains information from the same facts of the case that we are currently dealing with and the reason why these two dockets were not considered by the State when the decision to prosecute the applicant [Sifisokuhle Ntuli] before this court; also amounts to a violation of the accused constitutional rights.

“He has been prejudiced by such failure on the part of the State to consider the evidence contained in the second docket wherein there are people implicated there and the State has decided not to charge them.”

‘Pre-empt move by defence’

Meanwhile, State prosecutor George Baloyi opposed Advocate Mshololo’s special entry application, arguing that the defence could not pre-empt what the State would do with the second docket.

“The State respectfully opposes the application,” he said.

Advocate Baloyi said the purpose of the special entry application, in terms of Section 317 of the Criminal Procedure Act, was to raise irregularities that affected the trial that did not appear on the court record.

He argued that special entries were a route to an appeal court and presumed that there should be a guilty verdict against an accused person.

Because there was no guilty verdict against Advocate Mshololo’s client, Advocate Baloyi argued the defence’s application was premature ad should be dismissed.

“We submit that the issue regarding the disclosure of the second docket – Vosloorus CAS 375/1/2019 – has been fully canvassed on record and, therefore, it is not necessary to make a special entry in this regard and that the application ought to be dismissed,” he said.

 Presiding Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela ordered the trial would resume on Tuesday, at 10 am.

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