Two guilty of attack on Dali Mpofu

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Dali Mpofu at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. File picture: Oupa Mokoena

East London - Two men were convicted of assaulting prominent human rights lawyer Dali Mpofu by the East London Regional Court on Wednesday.

Chuma Komeni, 23, and Thulani Simon, 18, attacked Mpofu and stabbed him several times before robbing him of his personal belongings in a bushy area along the Eastern Beach, East London, on April 11 last year.

The men pleaded not guilty to the charges of robbery and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Doctor Marina Johnson of ER Consulting Inc, an emergency unit management company who treated Mpofu for his injuries at St Dominic's Private Hospital, testified on Wednesday.

Magistrate Sadia Jacobs had ordered the State to call the doctor who prepared Mpofu's medical report to testify and give more clarity on his injuries.

On Wednesday, Johnson told the court that Mpofu suffered serious stab wounds caused by a sharp object that penetrated his body.

“He sustained what we call a sucking, or penetrating, chest wound which ruptured his lung.”

An X-ray revealed that Mpofu's lung had collapsed.

She said the wounds were deep and were not caused by a nail clipper.

Last month, the accused told the court that they stabbed Mpofu with a nail clipper in self-defence after Mpofu attacked them.

Jacobs found the accused guilty on all charges.

Delivering her judgment, Jacobs said all three State witnesses, including Mpofu, gave credible evidence but she dismissed Komeni's and Simon's evidence.

“One of the accused admitted to stabbing Mpofu and admitted that they were afraid to return Mpofu's personal belongings, including his cellphone and wallet, after the robbery,” said Jacobs.

The case was postponed until June 10 to allow the State to verify Simon's age as his attorney Sivuyile Ntlonze believed that Simon was a minor at the time of the robbery.

Sentencing is expected to be handed down soon after Simon's age had been verified.

In their defence, the accused told the court that it was not a robbery but a struggle over a pair of trousers that had been left abandoned.

During cross-examination, Komeni told the court that the pair had used drugs moments before the crime was committed.

Last month, Komeni was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment on a separate case of robbery committed along the beachfront in 2012, where a tourist and a police reservist were robbed of their cellphones.

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