Johannesburg - The cross-examination of police ballistic expert Christian Mangena was postponed earlier today to afford the defence legal counsels of the five men on trial for the murder of Senzo Meyiwa time to acquire an independent ballistic expert of their own.
As the High Court in Pretoria concluded with the evidence of Lieutenant-Colonel Mangena, a wrench was thrown in the works as the defence counsels indicated that they had a delay in acquiring the services of an independent ballistic expert of their own.
Advocate Sipho Ramosepele, the defence counsel for Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, told the court that a letter was sent to him last night by ballistic expert Dr Christo De Klerk, wherein he indicated he was unavailable as he was in Uganda training the police with wildlife matters.
Ramosepele said De Klerk had indicated he would only be returning to the country on September 6, and would consult with the defence teams over the weekend of September 9 to 11.
He added that, however, from there he would again be tied up in a matter in the Eastern Cape High Court for 10 days.
De Klerk would then be available for a second round of consultations should the need arise, as he has another matter in the Durban High Court for three days.
From there, depending on when the matter sits in September, he may avail himself. However, Ramosepele said his scheduling and diary were very tight for the remainder of 2023.
In addition, advocate Zandile Mshololo had also been in contact with another ballistic expert who was interested in assisting the accused.
Although the defence counsels have yet to meet the expert, they informed the court that they would consult with him in due course in the event that De Klerk is not available to expedite the matter.
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng said as a result of the unavailability of the expert, the cross-examination of Mangena would have to stand down.
Mokgoatlheng said the reasons for the hiatus in the matter to proceed with cross-examination were understandable, as the accused were entitled to be afforded the fullest opportunity to conduct their defence so that the interests of justice were satisfied.
“I am sure that this is a reasonable request that makes this court amenable to postponing the matter as announced by the defence counsels. We will adjourn your cross-examination until we are advised further.”
Tomorrow, the matter will proceed with a new witness.