Cape Town - Three men accused of killing gay night club owner Bruno Bronn often partied together with the drug tik, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.
One of the three men, Achmat Toffa, rented a room in an apartment leased to tenant Monica Isaacs, who occasionally smoked tik with them, she told the court.
With Toffa before the court are Frederick Willem John Coetzer and Fareez Allie. At the time of his death, Bronn owned the gay night club, The Bronx, in the Cape Town CBD.
They have pleaded not guilty before Judge President John Hlophe and assessor Jaco van Reenen, a retired chief magistrate, to charges of pre-meditated murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
If found guilty, each faces a life sentence for murder, as well as 15 years for the robbery.
The hearing is in a court room used for civil proceedings, without a prisoner’s dock. The three men are seated on a comfortable, cushioned bench intended for instructing attorneys.
On one occasion during Tuesday’s proceedings, Coetzer sat slouched and made himself too comfortable for the judge’s liking.
Hlophe interrupted the proceedings and told Coetzer’s counsel, Patrick Scott: “I have a problem with your client, tell him to sit properly.”
Questioned by prosecutor Carien Teunissen, Isaacs told the court she knew Toffa by his nickname “Boy” and Coetzer as John.
Allie and his wife had often visited Toffa with their baby daughter, she said. She said she was aware the case was about Bronn’s alleged murder on Monday night, February 6, 2012.
She said Toffa often visited a casino, and sometimes, in his absence, Coetzer would visit her.
“During one of his visits, John told me that he had had a relationship with the deceased, and that he used to live with Bronn.”
Coetzer had never explained why his relationship with Bronn ended, she said. The day after the murder, Coetzer approached her with Bronn's laptop, one of the items allegedly stolen from Bronn’s Sea Point residence, and asked her if she could sell it for him.
Isaacs said she offered it to another resident in the apartment complex where she lived, Dawn Bailey, who wanted it for her daughter and was willing to pay R700 for it. Coetzer wanted R800, and Bailey later paid the extra R100.
Later in proceedings, when Bailey testified about buying the laptop, she stepped into the witness stand without a jacket on. Hlophe told her to ensure she was properly dressed the next time.
Isaacs said she heard about Bronn’s murder for the first time when Allie arrived at her apartment with the police.
She said: “The police were looking for John (Coetzer), and they came back a second time looking for Boy (Toffa).
“The police came back a third time, this time in search of the laptop. I told the police that John had given it to me to sell to Dawn.”
Cross-examined by Scott, she said Toffa often had friends visiting, and they would smoke tik in his room. After she had informed the police about the laptop transaction, she was handcuffed and taken away to make a statement, she said.
She said she was interrogated by a number of police officials.
Scott told her that, according to Coetzer, Toffa was the supplier of drugs, and that Coetzer often visited Toffa to obtain drugs to take to The Bronx.
Isaacs replied: “That’s what I heard.”
She said she used to smoke tik as well, and sometimes smoked it with Toffa.
The trial continues.