/ 31 January 2012

Minor’s mother present after Terre’Blanche’s murder

Minor's Mother Present After Terre'blanche's Murder

The mother of a minor accused in right wing leader Eugene Terre’Blanche’s murder trial was present when he pointed out the crime scenes, the Ventersdorp High Court heard on Tuesday.

Police officer Lieutenant-Colonel Frans Jacobs, who went with the teenager to point out crime scenes on April 4 2010, said the youth’s mother was already present when he arrived at the Klerksdorp Police Station.

Chris Mahlangu and the minor are accused of beating and hacking the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp on April 3 2010.

Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mahlangu claims he acted in self-defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.

Jacobs was testifying in a trial within a trial on the validity of evidence given by the two accused.

Norman Arendse, for the teenager, contended that the youth’s constitutional rights and rights under the Children’s Act had been “systematically violated”.

Lawyers for the youth and Mahlangu want the confessions and pointing out at the crime scene dropped from the trial.

Didn’t want lawyer
Jacobs said he had explained to the minor’s mother that she was there to protect her child’s interests and that she could stop him from answering questions at any time.

He testified that the youth’s rights were read to him. He had also informed the teenager that he had a right to a lawyer and that if he could not afford one, one would be provided to him by the state.

“He [the minor] said he did not want a lawyer at the moment,” Jacobs said.

He told the minor any information he gave and pictures taken of the crime scenes could be used against him in court and could lead to a prison sentence.

The youth was asked if he was sure he did not want a lawyer, but he maintained that he did not want one.

The youth was asked why he had decided to point out the crime scenes, to which he answered: “I feel I want to tell the truth. I feel sorry for my mother.”

Jacobs said the youth came across older than he was. He spoke and answered questions maturely.

“But I knew he was under age and therefore treated him as such.”

The youth and his mother were taken to the crime scene in an unmarked bakkie.

After the pointing out, the notes were read back to the youth in Afrikaans and he was asked if he understood. He said he did, but not everything.

His mother was asked the same question and she said she understood Afrikaans well and had heard everything.

Cross-examination of Jacobs begins on Wednesday morning.

Arendse cross-examined Terre’Blanche’s wife Martie earlier on Tuesday.

She was asked if she knew whether her husband abused his workers.

“Not that I know of,” she replied.

She was also asked about her husband’s temper.

Martie said her husband had been much calmer after returning on June 11 2004 from the Rooigrond Prison, near Mafikeng, after three and a half years imprisonment.

He was found guilty of attempted murder in 1996 after he beat petrol station attendant Paul Motshabi.

Arendse said that during the Motshabi trial many people testified they were scared of Terre’Blanche and said her husband had a history of violence.

The magistrate described Terre’Blanche as someone who got angry easily, Arendse said.

“Your honour, my husband was never violent towards me,” Martie said when Arendse asked if she had wanted him to stop drinking because of his temper.

She testified that she knew little about the AWB hiring detective Piet Byleveld to investigate Terre’Blanche’s murder.

She admitted that she, too, would do anything to find out why her husband was killed.

“I still don’t know why,” she said. — Sapa