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Hip-hop star Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye did not get a fair trial.
This was the assertion that his defence lawyer, Ike Motloung, made on Monday in the Protea Magistrate’s Court when he delivered his closing argument.
Motloung is defending Maarohanye on four counts of murder; two of attempted murder; one of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol; one of failing to ascertain the nature of the injuries at the accident scene; and one of speeding.
The charges relate to the afternoon of March 8, 2010, when he (Maarohanye) is alleged to have been racing his silver Mini Cooper in Soweto with his co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, driving a blue Mini Cooper, when the pair allegedly ploughed into a group of schoolchildren.
Four of the children died, while two sustained severe head injuries.
“The fairness of a trial does not begin in court, it begins upon arrest,” Motloung said, laying the basis of his argument.
The accident happened at about 3.45pm. Soon afterwards, the late Captain Moses Segapo arrived on the scene, according to Motloung.
“By 5pm, the news (of the accident) hit the headlines… they mentioned who the suspect is – by 5pm, they mention details of what happened, they say it was drag racing…
“They don’t even stop there, they say the drivers were under the influence… they say they are friends.”
These headlines and reports, Motloung argued, were potentially prejudicial to his client.
“The question is: who are these people who knew so much? They must have been prophetic.”
Motloung asked magistrate Brian Nemavhidi to seriously look into how the investigating team had conducted itself.
“I’m not unduly accusing the late captain, but it’s his evidence, even in the bail application, that when he conducts investigations, he knows what he wants. If you tell him what, according to him, didn’t happen, he doesn’t even take your statement – and that’s what happened here.”
Motloung tore into how the prosecution team had not provided the defence teams with a copy of cellphone video footage of the alleged racing taken by State witness Ntokozo Mahlangu.
He suggested the State purposefully didn’t give the defence the copies. Another State witness, Selina Dasheka, had said Maarohanye’s silver Mini was driving on the right side of the road – this was before the video was played in court.
“Lo and behold, (on the footage) the grey car was not on the right, but in fact on the left. I couldn’t have anticipated the power of the truth to come out so glaring,” he added.
“The truth of the matter is we’ve never been given any DVD for preparation. It goes to the heart of the matter – what kind of trial is this? A crucial piece of evidence was kept from me… I submit it cannot go without punishment,” Motloung said.