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One of ‘Gumtree’ murder-accused walks free

Crime & Courts

Cape Town - Tania Majiet left the Western Cape High Court a free woman after charges against her in connection with the murder of 21-year-old Olwyn Cowley in the so-called Gumtree murder were dropped.

On Wednesday, Majiet wiped tears from her eyes as she sat in the dock, listening to Judge Anton Veldhuizen acquit her of all charges.

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Cape Town 20140423. On trail at Western Cape High Court for the murder of Olwyn Cowley in the so called Gumtree murder case is Soegbudien Abvajee (black hat), Jason Elias (he is out on bail, he wore a white and red checked top), Shawaal Staggie (hiding his head a lot and wearing a blue jacket with colourful sown on patchwork stickers), Rameez Felix (wearing glasses and a black jacket)and Tania Majiet (girl, wearing black). Tania Majiet one of the accused in the Gumtree murder trial was acquitted on all charges. - Pictures: Robin Clark, Reporter: Natasha Prince

Since the State had closed its case, Majiet and two of her co-accused, Jason Elias and Rameez Felix brought a discharge application in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Elias’s lawyer brought the discharge on two counts – for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Felix’s attorney argued the discharge on the counts of murder and robbery with aggravated circumstances.

Elias and Rameez were unsuccessful in their applications.

Judge Veldhuizen found there were insufficient grounds for their application.

The three are among the five people accused of the murder of Cowley in August 2012.

It is the State’s case that Cowley was killed after meeting potential buyers for his BMW at Canal Walk, which he had advertised on the Gumtree website.

He was shot during a test-drive of the vehicle and his body was found on Baden Powell Drive.

Majiet, Elias, Felix, Shawaal Staggie and Soegbudien Abvajee have been on trial for his murder.

They had pleaded not guilty to murder and aggravated robbery.

The State said the BMW had been cleaned at Majiet’s house after the crime and questions were raised about how Cowley’s cellphone came to be in her daughter’s possession.

Susanna Kuun, for Majiet, argued that her client was not home when the cellphone was brought to the house, nor when the car had been washed.

Abvajee has pleaded guilty to murdering Cowley, and submitted a plea explanation admitting he was the shooter, but said he did it under threat from the other men in the car.

Abvajee also pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, culpable homicide and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The defence was expected to proceed with its case on Wednesday but William Booth, for Elias, said his client was seeing a psychologist and Booth was waiting for a report from a social worker rand was unable to proceed.

Judge Veldhuizen postponed the matter to May 12.

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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