Robbers phoned witnesses from jailComment on this story
Durban - The gang members in a marathon cash-in-transit heist trial allegedly smuggled cellphones into their cells to communicate with witnesses.
Arguing in aggravation of sentence on Wednesday, State advocate Cyril Selephi said: “The importance of the seriousness of the offences cannot be over-emphasised.”
The trial will come to a close on Friday, almost six years after it began, when Judge Jan Combrink hands down sentence in the Pongola High Court.
The sound of metal chains rubbing against the floor could be heard throughout proceedings as the 24 men shuffled in their seats.
Initially it was a gang of 26.
One of the accused, Lebohang Mothepu, died during the trial.
After spending almost six years in jail, Bhekinkosi Kunene was found not guilty of all charges including murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in March this year.
The rest of the gang were found guilty of all 31 counts of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and theft, mainly in connection with two cash-in-transit heists on the KZN North Coast.
The men were arrested at the Mvoti Toll Plaza on the N2, near KwaDukuza, in October 2006.
The gang had ambushed two Fidelity vehicles 30km apart.
The first vehicle was attacked near the Charters Creek turn-off when it was robbed of R1 118 413, and the second near KwaMbonambi. Nothing was taken from the second armoured vehicle.
On Wednesday the court heard how the men, had smuggled 53 cellphones into their cells and used them to call State witnesses.
Selephi also reminded the court that two of the cellphones smuggled into the cell were used to communicate with the interpreter, a Zondi, who has since been removed from the case.
Selephi said this conduct showed the disregard the accused had for the law which he said would affect their possibilities of rehabilitation. - Daiyl News