Sanders trial: accused cry foul

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IOL corrie0 REUTERS Cornelius "Corrie" Sanders Photo: Reuters

Pretoria - Two of the accused on trial for the murder of former heavyweight boxer Corrie Sanders have indicated they will challenge court evidence on an identity parade held in September 2012.

Sanders was shot during an armed robbery at the Thatch Haven Country Lodge outside Brits while attending his nephew’s 21st birthday party. He died on September 23, 2012, in Kalafong Hospital.

Zimbabweans Samuel Mabena, Chris Moyo and Paida Fish, pleaded not guilty to the murder.

They also face charges of malicious damage to property relating to two damaged vehicles at the lodge, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and attempted murder after one of the guests was wounded.

The three were arrested in the Oukasie informal settlement, outside Brits, days after the incident.

Defence lawyers for Fish and Moyo on Thursday said they would contest evidence submitted on the identity parade on September 30, 2012, because police officers had assaulted the two shortly before it was held.

This led to a trial-within-a-trial and the prosecution called Captain Assar Tjale of the Brits police to testify about the identity parade.

Fish, through his counsel, claimed police officers had assaulted him “on numerous occasions”.

The pair said they had also not been informed of their right to legal representation, nor of “what was going on” in their mother tongue, Shona.

Tjale testified that he had conducted the identity parade and explained to the suspects what would happen before it started.

They told him they had been informed of the parade on September 28, 2012, and that they understood what it entailed.

The officer had spoken to them in Setswana. Moyo’s girlfriend Margaret Rantlhako had also confirmed she communicated with him in Setswana. “I asked them what language they speak and they said Shona but said they also understand Setswana,” Tjale testified.

He said he had asked the pair if they needed legal representation and explained how important it was. “They said that at the time they did not need a lawyer present.”

Tjale meticulously described the parade to Judge Ferdi Preller.

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Twitter: @LalivZ

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