Ipid head Robert McBride File picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Cape Town – The State on Tuesday withdrew criminal charges against Robert McBride, the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, and two co-accused after telling the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court that witnesses were reluctant to testify.

The charges against McBride and IPID colleagues Matthew Sesoko and Innocent Khuba relate to the alleged doctoring of a report into the illegal deportation of Zimbabwean murder suspects in 2010 to absolve the former head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Anwa Dramat, of wrongdoing.

But the Prosecutor, Sello Maema, informed the court that a key witness, who works for Werksmans Attorneys, would not take the stand to defend a report on the rendition allegations compiled by the law firm and had described it as “hearsay”.

The State then with withdrew the charges after prosecutors consulted with Torie Pretorius, the head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s priority crimes litigation unit, during the court’s lunch break.

The NPA said in a statement it had concluded after consultation with witnesses that the charges against the three were no longer viable.

Moses Dlamini, the recently re-instated spokesman for IPID, said the watchdog body welcomed the withdrawal of the charges as it knew that these would never stand up in court.

McBride returned to his post as head of IPID on October 19 after the Constitutional Court in September set aside his suspension by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, ruling that it was invalid.

McBride has maintained that the Werksman’s report was spurious. It recommended that he, Seseko and Khuba face charges of defeating the ends of justice for tampering with an earlier IPID report in order to clear Dramat and former Gauteng head of the Hawks Shadrack Sibiya.

It informed Nhleko’s decision to suspend them.

 

African News Agency