Pretoria - One of the four men arrested in connection with the murder of Maj-Gen Tirhani Maswanganyi was forced to “confess”, the Pretoria North Magistrate's Court heard on Wednesday.
John Hlaisa, for Tshepo Mosai, said his client was kept at Brooklyn police station, in Pretoria, separate from other accused “so that his rights could be trampled on”.
“Why did members of the investigating team visit him at the cells, without his lawyer when the accused had indicated that he needs legal representation?” Hlaisa asked Colonel Abednego Shibiri.
“He was forced to admit involvement when the crime was committed. A (police) pocket book was given to him when he had not requested it,” said Hlaisa.
Shibiri said Mosai had voluntarily confessed to the murder.
“The officers didn't have a writing pad and the station commander provided the pocket book,” said Shibiri.
He said the officers had visited Mosai to show him an identity kit of another accused person.
Shibiri is head of the police's Gauteng provincial investigating team.
Hlaisa put it to him that the visit by the officers was meant “to induce Mosai to turn State witness”.
Shibiri argued that it was Mosai who had asked to be a State witness, but that such a process would be handled by the prosecution.
Earlier, Shibiri said the authorities had yet to ascertain how Maswanganyi was killed.
He said the cause of death would be known only when toxicology and histology reports were released.
“We can get the histology reports any time from now, but the toxicology reports do take time. We have requested the department of health to expedite the process,” said Shibiri.
“Normally those reports can take four to five years,” he said.
The health department had said the toxicology reports should be available in the first quarter of 2014.
Shibiri said indications so far were that Maswanganyi was strangled.
He was opposing a bail application brought by Maswanganyi's alleged killers Nditsheni Daniel Nefolovhodwe, Ndaedzo Isaac Vele, Tshepo Mosai and Roger Godfrey Moseki.
Shibiri said property stolen from Maswanganyi, including cellphones and a computer tablet, had not been recovered.
He said the police had yet to arrest other suspects related to the crime, and that if released on bail, the four would jeopardise the ongoing investigations.
Maswanganyi was found dead in a field near the R101, near Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, in June.
His hands and feet were bound. A police patrol found Maswanganyi's abandoned Isuzu bakkie next to the road.
A police uniform and police identification card were in the bakkie, which prompted a search.
Three of the four accused, Moseki, Vele and Nefolovhodwe, were members of the SA National Defence Force.