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31 Jul 2018 17:15
A former ANC official and three others charged in connection with a deadly Johannesburg cash-in-transit heist now face three charges, it emerged in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Initially, the men were only charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances.
However, prosecutor Paseka Temeki told Magistrate John Baloyi on Tuesday that charges of attempted murder and possession of stolen vehicles had been added to the charge sheet.
Former ANC employee Errol Velile Present appeared in the dock on Tuesday alongside co-accused Zakhele Zondi, 37, Itumeleng Manama, 40, and Bheki Biyela, 36.
The men were arrested by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s K9 Unit and Crime Intelligence in connection with a heist in Dobsonville, Soweto earlier this month.
In court on Tuesday, the lawyers representing the men objected to the new charge sheet.
Present’s lawyer Ben Modumaela argued that Present was not found in possession of suspected stolen vehicles, saying that he had been walking at the time of his arrest.
According to Modumaela, four witnesses were supposed to point out the perpetrators of the robbery. However, Present and his co-accused were not identified, he said.
He added that Present would object to a further identity parade because his picture was distributed on social media.
The defence also applied for access to the contents of the docket in the case.
Attorney Brighton Hlayisani Taula, who represented Zondi and Biyela, told the court that they needed the documents to properly prepare for the bail application.
“If one is to prove existence of exceptional circumstances without knowing the content of the docket, it becomes difficult, if not impossible,” Taula said.
Manama’s lawyer, Nthabiseng Mohomune, added that the State would not suffer any prejudice if the docket was made accessible to the defence.
Modumaela argued that there was an onus on the accused to prove that exceptional circumstances existed to justify his release on bail.
“We beg, seeking that the State provide us with the statements by the witnesses that [implicated] us.
We further request a statement pertaining to the suspected stolen or hijacked vehicles.”
The court was packed to capacity on Tuesday and armed police officers stood on the side of the room.
The case has been postponed to August 3 for Baloyi’s ruling.
Meanwhile, Baloyi ruled that photographs of the accused may not be published because an identity parade has not yet been held. News24
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