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Two Pietermaritzburg men charged with the attempted murder of their employee after they allegedly dragged him behind a bakkie will hear later on Friday whether they have been acquitted.
Applying for their discharge in the city’s regional court on Thursday, the men’s advocate said the employee had lied and changed his evidence as the trial proceeded.
Johan Bornman, 33, the owner of Born Electrical, and his senior manager, Theunis Schoeman, 32, were charged with the kidnapping and attempted murder of Tankiso Sikhosana, their former employee.
Sikhosana has accused his former employers of assaulting him, putting a plastic bag over his head, tying him to the back of their bakkie with rope, dragging him for several metres over a gravel road, and then stripping him naked on September 21, 2010.
The two have pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The accused maintain that Sikhosana has a history of being hired and fired after numerous acts of misconduct, and that he fabricated the entire incident because he realised he was going to be dismissed again for failing to turn up for work.
Defence advocate Shane Mathews, submitted before magistrate Jaco Jordaan that the evidence led by the State was of such a poor quality that no reasonable court could possibly convict on it.
Dealing with Sikhosana’s testimony, Mathews said it was clear he had deviated materially from the statements he had made to the police and his oral evidence in court.
In his statement to the police, Sikhosana never mentioned that he was dragged behind a bakkie.
When giving evidence in court, Sikhosana said the policeman taking down his statement must have omitted it.
“It is unlikely in the extreme that the policeman would have ignored this information,” Mathews said.
Sikhosana also gave the court various versions of where the alleged assault took place. He also contradicted himself relating to how his clothes were taken off his body.
First Sikhosana said that his clothes were cut off his body with a knife, but later changed his version, claiming that the two men had “torn” his overalls off his body.
Mathews said he found it unbelievable that two men could have used that much force to “tear” thick overalls off Sikhosana’s body while his wrists and ankles were bound together.
Apart from being dragged behind the bakkie with his wrists and ankles tied together, Sikhosana alleged that he was kicked in the ribs and face by one of his employers, who was wearing an industrial boot with a metal toe-cap.
The State called two medical experts who had examined Sikhosana after the alleged attack to give evidence. However, Mathews argued that their testimony did not support Sikhosana’s version of events.
Both practitioners found superficial lacerations on Sikhosana’s knees, elbows and back, as well as dried blood over his forehead. They concluded the injuries were not consistent with someone who claimed to have been dragged over gravel on his stomach, as there would have been massive trauma to the chest and abdominal area had this occurred.
In addition, there were no injuries to Sikhosana’s wrists or ankles, and no bruising to his ribs or face, which would have been expected, given the nature of the alleged assault Sikhosana had described.
Mathews said it was evident Sikhosana’s version was either false or grossly exaggerated.
The State prosecutor argued that Sikhosana had been injured and that for Mathews to label him a liar was incorrect.
The prosecutor submitted that Bornman and Schoeman have a case to answer and should put on their defence. - Daily News