Forensic expert testifies in Jeppestown case

A forensic expert told the Johannesburg High Court on Wednesday that some of the accused in the Jeppestown massacre trial—who tested positive for gunshot primer residue—either discharged a firearm or were within two metres from where it had been discharged.

Thirteen accused are on trial for the death of 12 people, including four policemen, in a bloody gun battle in Jeppestown after a supermarket robbery on the West Rand in June 2006.

Superintendent Leoni Sevenster, from the forensic science laboratory in Pretoria, said persons could only test positive for primer residue if they had discharged a firearm, or if they were in the vicinity where a firearm had been discharged. They could then be subjected to a secondary carry over [of the residue].

Not all the accused tested positive for primer residue.

The defence argued that their clients had never touched firearms or fired any shots on the day in question. They were, however, in the house were firearms had been disharged.

“Accused number four, Sizwe Mbuyazi, will tell this court that on the day in question he never touched any firearm or fired any shots but he was in a house when firearms were fired,” his attorney said.

Mbuyazi is one of the accused who tested positive for the residue.

Sevenster said it was possible for a person who was within two metres of the spot where a firearm had been fired to test positive for primer residue.

Accused told boss he was hijacked

Meanwhile, an employer of one of the accused told the court on Tuesday that she believed her employee had been hijacked on the day of the incident.

“I believed him because he had never experienced such a bad incident before,” said Johannesburg taxi owner Lindani Duze.

Duze had employed accused number six, Sizwe Dlamini, as a driver in 2006.

The court heard that Dlamini told his employer during a telephone conversation on the day of the incident that he had been hijacked. - Sapa

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