Johannesburg - The man accused of murdering a motorcyclist in an apparent road rage incident has claimed the media, the police and a witness have conspired to make him appear guilty.
Meekahaefele Masooa is under cross-examination at the high court sitting in Randburg Magistrate’s Court for shooting Douglas Pearce on Malibongwe Drive on Valentine’s Day last year.
The State has alleged that Masooa shot Pearce after an argument, firing as the biker turned away, killing him.
However, Masooa has claimed it was in self-defence, and that the biker was attacking and facing him when his firearm discharged.
However, during cross-examination on Monday, Masooa was quick to blame the media for “creating the narrative” that he shot Pearce in the back.
He claimed that police officers had used only certain crime scene photos in order to push this version of events.
“It was a lie that was perpetuated by the media. That really hurt me. It portrayed me as a monster; I am not one,” he told the court.
However, State advocate Arveena Persad has already called witnesses who claimed Pearce was shot when his back was turned to Masooa.
A paramedic who treated Masooa also claimed he told her that he had grabbed Pearce by the collar of his shirt and shot him.
But according to Masooa, the two witnesses are liars, and police investigators failed to do their work to prove his version of what had happened.
Masooa claims that Pearce had been following him for more than 5km, swearing and shouting racist slurs, before eventually using his motorcycle to block the motorist in the emergency lane.
It was after seeing Pearce brandishing a firearm that Masooa grabbed his own and a physical altercation ensued outside Masooa’s vehicle. This was when his gun accidentally went off, twice.
According to Persad, one forensic analyst had initially believed there was a possibility the wounds showed Pearce had been shot in the front, but upon further investigation of the ballistic evidence, had changed his testimony to say that Masooa had shot the biker in the back.
On Monday, Masooa was adamant that the analyst was “a shame to his profession” and that it was highly unprofessional to change his opinion after submitting his initial report. “It is disgusting that he would change it because of the influence of a police officer,” said Masooa.
He was also quick to denounce a second ballistics expert Major Chris Mangena, who believed Pearce was shot in the back. According to Masooa, Mangena had failed to do his job properly.
When Persad confronted him again with the fact that a witness had seen him shooting Pearce from behind, Masooa once again blamed the media for altering the man’s understanding of events, as his statement to police was given a month after the shooting.