Court to rule on victim’s dying declaration

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Cape Town -

The victim of a vigilante killing - of which an activist and three others are accused - made a dying declaration.

Whether it will be admissible as evidence, however, is for the Western Cape High Court to decide.

According to the State, Rowan du Preez was found in Mfuleni in the early hours of October 14, 2012, after a report was made to two police officers on patrol.

He was naked, his body was bruised and his feet and genitals had been burnt.

The State alleges Du Preez made a declaration to the the officers before he was rushed to Groote Schuur Hospital, where he later died.

Four people are on trial for Du Preez’s murder: Isaac Mbadu, Christopher Dina, Azola Dayimane and Angy Peter, a leading member of the Social Justice Coalition’s anti-vigilante campaign.

In addition to murder, they also face charges of kidnapping and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The issue of the dying declaration came up in the State’s indictment document, as well as in court proceedings on Tuesday during the cross-examination of Du Preez’s aunt, Deseree Jack.

It arose when Judge Robert Henney questioned defence counsel William King, acting for Peter and Mbadu, over his line of questioning.

King said that Du Preez had made a dying declaration and that he would argue as to Du Preez’s credibility. He contended on this basis that the declaration could not be relied on.

It has not yet emerged what Du Preez’s dying declaration was.

Judge Henney said that even if he found it was admissible, the question of how much weight he would attach to it still remained.

He said the impression that had been created of Du Preez so far was that he was not an upstanding citizen because he had been involved in crime.

Even if Du Preez had been an honest person, said Judge Henney, this would not necessarily mean the dying declaration could be relied on.

The trial continues.

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Cape Times

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