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Pretoria - There was enough evidence that former Nigerian Olympic athlete Ambrose Monye and his friend Andre Gouws had conspired to murder Chanelle Henning, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked the court to convict Monye and Gouws of conspiring to murder Henning.
Henning was gunned down in a drive-by shooting outside a Faerie Glen crèche in Pretoria on November 8, 2011.
The State submitted that the two had conspired with former policeman Gerhardus (Dup) du Plessis and Willem (Pike) Pieterse to murder Henning.
Du Plessis and Pieterse, who are self-confessed drug addicts, are serving 18-year prison sentences after confessing to killing Henning.
They implicated Monye and Gouws, who was friends with Henning’s husband Nico Henning, as the men behind the murder.
Monye was acquitted on another murder charge in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court when Henning was shot.
He admitted introducing the two killers to Gouws, but said he knew nothing about the murder.
Gouws admitted watching Henning's movements at her husband’s request, but said he wanted to see if he could catch her with drugs.
He denied arranging her murder.
Nel handed a detailed time line of events and comprehensive heads of argument to the court.
He argued that the court should accept the evidence of Du Plessis and Pieterse as their versions had been consistent and was corroborated by cellphone detail billing and video footage.
Their versions that there were meetings on particular days and at specific places were later confirmed by the accused themselves.
Nel described Monye and Gouws as two of the worst witnesses he had ever met.
“They were deceitful, had tailored their versions and their versions were in addition not only improbable but also factually impossible,” said Nel.
“This is… one of the rare cases where the State could argue that a conviction should follow on the strength of the State case even if the accused’s version, evaluated in isolation could be argued to be reasonable possible.”
Nel said Du Plessis and Pieterse accepted that they had committed an atrocious crime and that murdering a woman they had never met was senseless.
The two were willing to face the accused and never contradicted themselves, Nel said.
In contrast, Gouws sat back in the witness box with stretched arms.
He answered questions confidently at first but slowly regressed as he tried to hide behind a childhood injury that purportedly affected his memory.
Nel said Gouws had even relied on the Bible to convince the court that he was telling the truth, but was nevertheless a dismal witness.
He argued that only Nico Henning could have disclosed the home, work and crèche addresses and only his friend Gouws could have provided detail about the deceased to Monye and the two killers.
The victim initiated custody proceedings shortly before she was killed and with her out of the way, there was at least one less role player in the custody battle, Nel argued.
He said Gouws had avoided contact with Nico on the day after the murder, but could however not resist to “congratulate” his friend and to tell him he was proud of him that evening – this after Nico thought he had done well in a lie detector test.
Matthew Klein, for Monye, and Daan Mostert, for Gouws, both argued that the court should be careful of relying on the evidence of self-confessed drug addicts, murders, thieves and co-perpetrators.
Klein said the State’s case was based on circumstantial evidence and one could not merely infer that the State had proved its case against his client beyond reasonable doubt.
Mostert argued that the killers had been in possession of the murder weapon long before they met Gouws and that Gouws’ version that he had never discussed anything with the two was reasonably possibly true.
Judgment would be delivered on November 25. - Sapa