Case against SJC activist concocted - lawyerComment on this story
Cape Town - The murder case in which an activist is accused of killing a man in an alleged vigilante attack was a “stitch-up”, her defence lawyer has argued.
Angy Peter, a leading member of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), was put on trial in the Western Cape High Court with Azola Dayimani, Christopher Dina and her husband, Isaac Mbadu, who also works for the organisation.
They face charges relating to the murder of Rowan du Preez, who was allegedly abducted, “necklaced” and left for dead in Mfuleni in October 2012.
The court began hearing closing arguments on Tuesday.
William King, SC, for Peter and Mbadu, said the case against his clients was a “stitch-up” in the sense that there had not been a proper investigation. He said it was the police who had fingered Peter as a suspect.
King later argued that Du Preez’s friends and family - who he alleged had been motivated by “revenge” - had “fabricated evidence to go along with” what the police had said.
However, when Judge Robert Henney asked the State about allegations that the case against the couple had been “concocted”, prosecutor Phistus Pelesa said this theory could not be substantiated.
He said Peter was unable to shed light on how police officers would have been influenced to concoct a case against them, as well as who in the police structures had done so.
Pelesa also told the court that there wasn’t a “constant line of defence” as to the origin of the concoction, saying it had kept shifting. “There is no evidence in fact or in law that the police would have fabricated this case.”
There was direct, circumstantial and hearsay evidence that, in totality, pointed to the four accused as having committed the offence, Palesa said.
Peter and Mbadu’s alibi, the court heard, was that they were at home with their children at the time of the attack.
King said Peter had been involved in pushing for a commission of inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha. She had carried out research, made television appearances and pursued instances of police incompetence.
He claimed that the police had not investigated the case properly, that other possible suspects hadn’t been excluded and that there was “bias” on the police’s part, saying they weren’t “impartial and fair” as one would expect of the police.
“They had an interest because one of the accused was a thorn in their side.”
King is to continue his arguments on Wednesday.