Cape Town – A stomach bug has forced the postponement of the trial of three Cape Town police officials facing charges of theft and robbery.
The case, in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, started in June, 2013.
In the dock on Monday were Constable Nkosinathi Mdiya, 32, warrant officer Mogamat Meniers, 45 and Sergeant Heinrich Gordon, 38, all formally based at the Diep River police station, in Cape Town’s southern suburbs.
Mdiyi has pleaded not guilty to two counts of theft and two of robbery, Meniers not guilty to one charge of theft and one of corruption, and Gordon not guilty to three counts of theft, two of corruption, one of extortion and two of robbery.
The matter was scheduled to have resumed on Monday when State prosecutor Xolile Jonas told the court that one of the defence lawyers had taken ill with a stomach bug, which prevented her from attending Monday’s proceedings.
Another defence lawyer, Chantal Morgan, told the court that the ill lawyer had been in touch with her.
“She hopes to have recovered sufficiently to attend the proceedings tomorrow,” Morgan said.
The magistrate, however, said her recovery by Tuesday was unlikely, and postponed the case to April 22.
The charges relate to six different incidents in February and March, 2012.
The court has previously heard that, on the extortion charge, Nigerian Daniel Animalu was driving in the Diep River area when he heard a police siren approaching from behind.
At first he ignored it, but when the police vehicle started flashing its headlights at him, he stopped.
The police vehicle stopped behind him, and Gordon approached him.
Gordon then allegedly reached into his car, snatched the ignition keys, gave him a cellphone number to call, and drove off.
Animalu called the number and according to the State, Gordon said he would have to pay R500 for the return of his keys.
Animalu reported the incident to the Wynberg police, who said he should call Gordon again, from the charge office, and demand that Gordon bring the keys to the Wynberg police charge office.
He did so but Gordon had switched off his cellphone.
Animalu tried a second time, got through, and demanded that the keys be returned to him at the police station.
Soon afterwards, Gordon called and said he had placed the keys on the bonnet of Animalu’s car.
The Wynberg police then insisted that Gordon return the keys to Animalu at the Wynberg police station, which Gordon did.
On one of the theft charges, the court had heard that the three police officials allegedly broke open the door of drug addict and pedlar Anton Pillay’s shack, in an informal settlement.
They confiscated money and drugs and took him to the Diep River police station.
There, they allegedly demanded R200 each for his release, which he paid.
When they returned the confiscated money, he noticed some of it was missing. No charges were pressed against him.