Dube trial: Cops defend ID-parade procedures

Two police officers who assisted during an identity parade told the Johannesburg High Court on Monday they did not have any knowledge about the three people accused of the murder of reggae star Lucky Dube.

This follows claims by the three men that a witness, Siphiwe Mlaba, who pointed them out at the ID parade on October 29 2007, was told who to point out by “a number of police officers” that were present.

“I did not know the suspects,” said both Inspector Themba Nzimande and Inspector Musa Shezi.

“I did not even know who was pointed out,” said Shezi.

Shezi’s role in the parade was to guard the three witnesses; Nzimande’s role was to guard them after the parade.

Mlaba is the only witness who positively identified the trio as having hijacked him on October 20 2009.

A police officer, Mphikeleli Vana, who was in charge of the identity parade of suspects, told the court that the process was conducted properly and that he and a photographer were the only two people in the parade room.

He further testified that Mlaba took just a second to identify the first suspect.

“Mlaba first identified a person holding number eight, Sifiso Mhlanga, within a second.

“He took some time with the other two. It was only after they were identified when they told me Mlaba had seen them in court,” said Vana, who has so far conducted up to six identity parades.

Two issues under dispute are that Mlaba might have seen the accused at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court before the identity parade and that there were several officers present at the identity parade who might have helped Mlaba to point out the accused.

The trial was adjourned and will continue on Tuesday, when forensic experts and police officers who found two of the guns used in the crime are expected to testify.

Julius Gxowa, Mbuti Mabe and Sifiso Mhlanga, all in their thirties, are on trial for allegedly killing Dube outside his brother’s house in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, on October 18 2007.

They face a charge of murder, two charges of aggravated robbery, one count of attempted aggravated robbery, and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.—Sapa

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