Cape Town - The charges are racking up for a UCT student accused of beating a cleaner during an alleged racial assault.
It emerged on Thursday that Chad De Matos, in addition to his attempted murder trial, is also facing charges of negligent and reckless driving after he ploughed through the walls of a Kenilworth home in his car .
Police are also investigating another assault case which could be linked to him.
De Matos, 19, and his co-accused Aaron Mack, 20, and Mitchell Turner, 20, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. They had been released from Pollsmoor Prison the night before after their attorney, William Booth, lodged an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court.
The trio, who have been likened by prosecutor Nathan Johnson to the Waterkloof Four – convicted of the murder of an unidentified vagrant in Pretoria’s Moreleta Park in 2001 – sat quietly at the back of courtroom 4 as they waited for their case to begin.
They are facing charges of attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after they attacked Delia Adonis, 52, a cleaner at Stadium on Main, outside the Tiger Tiger night club in Claremont.
According to Adonis she saw the trio, who were part of a group of five, leave the club and wait in the street. When they saw another patron exit the establishment, they allegedly attacked him. Adonis called for help, bringing local law enforcement officers to the victim of the beating.
When she went to a nearby parking lot to have a smoke, the group of young men allegedly attacked her, kicking and punching her while dishing out racial slurs.
At the courthouse she said her son, Tesh-Lee Adonis, had saved her from certain death. The 17-year-old had rushed to her aid, chasing away her attackers. He smiled when asked about the incident, saying: “It was crazy.”
He was called to the Mowbray police station to make a formal statement that will later be presented as evidence. According to police, it was a trial that was almost halted before it began.
The detective, who took down Delia Adonis’s statement, also appeared in court on Thursday. He is facing charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice after he allegedly accepted money to make the case “disappear”, Johnson told the court.
Detective Andy Hendricks, 27, looked shocked as he was confronted by a large group of photographers inside the court when he made his way to the dock. The detective is out on bail, something the prosecutor said would be investigated because there had been no formal process. It is alleged that Hendricks accepted about R700 from Adonis’s attackers to cover her medical bills and drop the case.
The matter was postponed until February 10 for further investigation.
When De Matos, Mack and Turner took the stand, they kept their arms crossed and their eyes dead ahead.
Booth said they had been unfairly remanded to Pollsmoor Prison on Tuesday after the State objected to granting bail. The lawyer said it had been agreed in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday night that there were no legal grounds for denying them bail.
Johnson asked for a postponement for further investigation. The remaining two men linked to the assault were still being sought by police.
However, Booth told the Cape Argus he had contacted the students, who were not hiding from the authorities.
“They are in East London, where they live and are more than willing to go in for questioning.”
He said there was no warrant out for their arrest. The men’s story would be heard “at an appropriate time” during the trial, he said. The case was postponed until February 5.
De Matos was whisked away to courtroom 2 where a trial date had been set for him to face charges of negligent and reckless driving. However, the case was postponed until March 27.
The complainant in the case is Kenilworth resident Amanda Moore. In her statement to police she wrote: “On Friday 28 February at approximately 02h00 I was woken up by a hard bump against my property and my perimeter alarm going off at the same time.”
She got up to discover a hole in her wall and her car, which had been parked in a bay, mounted on the front step of her house. There were no signs of who had caused the damage except for a trail of an unidentified liquid, wrote Moore.
Local security followed the trail to De Matos’s house, she added. Police and security brought De Matos to her house. He admitted: “It was me, it was me. I did this.”
He told her he had driven away because he was scared.
But since then it had been a battle to get De Matos to pay a cent. And now that the case has been postponed until next year, she was frustrated.
“He just keeps thinking he can get away with this,” Moore said.
Police said investigations into the other assault on the night the young men allegedly attacked the cleaner had not yet resulted in a formal charge.