The Senzo Meyiwa murder trial has thrown up all sorts of surprises, not least of which was the revelation of the existence of a second case docket, this one implicating the Bafana captain’s girlfriend and several others, who were to be witnesses in the trial, in his killing.
However, what the trial has done in spades is highlight the (shoddy) quality of police work at the murder scene.
Only the celebrity of the victim and others connected to the trial has ensured these aspects have come to public attention, but how many other trials are compromised in similar circumstances and slip under the radar because the victims are not so well-known?
In the Meyiwa matter, the police blunders appear shockingly basic, including the failure to note the lack of blood in the kitchen (the floor had apparently been cleaned), where he had been shot and bled profusely, not testing to check if anyone in the house had fired a gun, and allowing people to occupy the house despite forensic work not being completed.
It bears probing whether the lapses were due to bad training, a lackadaisical attitude to the work, or something else.
As the KZN head of the National Prosecuting Authority says on page 1, forensic evidence is crucial in trials. It can place the guilty at the scene, or absolve the innocent.
Whatever the outcome of the Meyiwa trial, if it prompts a shake-up of police investigative procedures, some good will have come of it.
The Independent on Saturday