State goes fishing: WOZA defence

WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu appeared before Magistrate, Mr. Goodluck Sangweni at Tredgold Regional Court facing Kidnapping and Theft charges.

Jenni Williams and magodonga Mahlangu
Jenni Williams and magodonga Mahlangu

The Trial resumes on 16 January 2012.

The Defence Lawyer Kossam Ncube made an application for the two to be discharged on both counts at the close of the state case. He argues that the state had failed to establish a prima facie case against the two accused.

He cited inconsistencies and contradictions between the witness statements to court and to the police and how the witnesses also contradicted each other. He dealt with both counts separately outlining the inconsistencies. One glaring inconsistency being Emma Mabena statement to police wherein according to the statement she was pushed and pulled into the vehicle but in her evidence to the court she said no one had forced her or threatened her in anyway.

The defence lawyer also said the prosecution had gone on a fishing expedition and that a reasonable court could not convict the accused.

"Your worship to note that all 3 state witnesses disowned their statements that they gave to the police indicating that they did not tell the police particular aspects of their statements and in some cases there seemed to be additions to their statements which witnesses clearly denied having given to the police. Clearly that raises a lot of eyebrows on the part of the state case where it would seem the police could have made additions to their statements or changed statements for unknown reasons. A case in point that Emma Mabena said she never told the police that she was forced into the vehicle and that no one ever threatened to assault her or take her somewhere and she would never come back. "

State prosecutor Mr Goodwill Katenaire requested a 45 minute break and then opposed the application in submissions that were often made in the format of a witness of the events rather than a prosecutor. He seemed to be determined to enter his own evidence into the case and left people in the court wondering where he had been when witnesses had made their statements.

His desperation to obtain a conviction was evident as he manufactured his own accusations against the accused that there had been no verbal or written evidence by any witness in any of the court hearings. He accused Jennifer Williams of introducing her 2 colleagues as police officers when no witness had ever made this accusation. He justified this by saying that the 'demeanour' of the accused lent itself to the belief that they were police officers.

Mr Katenaire also manufactured evidence on behalf of Emma Mabhena saying that she refused on several occasions to accompany the accused to Nketa to the home of Bokani Nleya.

In court evidence witnesses clearly stated that none of the accused had ever identified the other 2 ladies in the vehicle. Emma Mabhena in her evidence said she thought to herself the other unidentified people could be police as she had been told by her daughter in law that Williams and her colleagues were looking for stolen goods and decided that something was seriously wrong so she should accompany the accused. She further testified going to the neighbours to inform them that she was going out for awhile.

The Magistrate will give his ruling on the application for discharge at close of state case on 16 January 2012.

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