New twist in Griquatown murder trial
Kimberley - The rape charge against the 17-year-old youth accused of the triple Griquatown farm murders has no relevance to the murders, the Northern Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.
Northern Cape Judge President Frans Kgomo was hearing final arguments in the boy's murder and rape trial.
He is accused of shooting dead farmer Deon Steenkamp, 44, his wife Christel, 43, and their daughter Marthella, 14, on April 6, 2012.
He faces an additional charge of raping Marthella and of lying to the police.
Riaan Bode, for the youth, submitted the evidence indicated that the alleged sexual injuries were caused 12 to 72 hours before death.
Bode urged the court to take notice of this time factor and the possibility that a rape could not have taken place during the attack.
The time factor did not fit, he argued.
Bode further questioned the State's charge of rape on the grounds that there were not enough facts to substantiate the allegation.
The State should give an indication of how the alleged rape took place.
Bode also submitted the State's expert witnesses on the rape charge indicated that the “redness” to the girls genitals could have been caused by something else.
Replying to a question by Kgomo, Bode submitted he could only speculate on the severe injuries to the girl.
He also submitted that the slightly built boy could not have attacked Deon Steenkamp, who was described as a big man.
There was also no DNA of the farmer found on the boy, which seemed highly unlikely due to the injuries allegedly inflicted by the boy.
Bode argued the police investigation into the murders also left question marks.
He submitted that the fact that no usable fingerprints were found on the scene meant it was not properly investigated.
Bode also included in this argument the handling of DNA evidence.
Foreign DNA was found on the murder weapons but this was not investigated further.
Bode submitted the burned and destroyed green Jeep jacket found with Deon Steenkamp could have contained DNA of the attacker during the struggle with Deon.
Bode submitted the handling of these aspects and the fact that the State's case was based on circumstantial evidence meant the boy was robbed of possible facts in his favour.
“The fact is, on the State's case, there are other possibilities,” said Bode.
He further argued that it was not unlikely that somebody else was at the murder scene other than the boy.
The State is to present final arguments after the lunch break.
The case continues.