Cop accused of lying in youth's killing case
The defence lawyer for the student constable accused of killing Soweto teenager Thato Mokoka yesterday accused his client's colleague of lying to the court.
Advocate Kenneth Manyage, who represents Sipho Mbatha on his murder charge, said Constable Tshepo Mokhumola was not being candid and that his testimony was riddled with inconsistencies.
Mokhumola, one of six police officers who raided Thato's home following claims that the 16-year-old had a gun, told the Johannesburg High Court that Mbatha was in full control of Thato and there was no need to point a gun at him.
He said Thato had surrendered and did not make any movement that would have threatened Mbatha.
He also said Mbatha had ignored a call from a fellow officer that they should leave as there was no firearm in Thato's shack.
Manyage said Mokhumola's statement that Thato did not move was untrue. "It is my instruction that Thato did move his torso and told his grandmother to tell cops that he did not have a gun."
He also disputed Mokhumola's assertion that he was searching Thato's shack for the second time when the teenager was shot several times.
Mokhumola said he and four officers were walking out of Thato's yard when he remembered that they did not search the sofa. He went back alone to check if the gun was not hidden in the sofa.
"Are you saying while five of you were initially searching the shack, none of you checked that sofa," asked Manyage.
"Are you also saying none of the senior officers you were with volunteered to accompany you back into the shack."
Mokhumola said he had hoped his colleagues would go back with him, but this did not happen.
He said while busy searching the sofa, he heard what sounded like automatic gunshots going off.
"I thought we were under attack and I went out. I then saw Mbatha throwing the gun down and saying, 'what have I done'?"
Mokhumola said he had no reason to lie in court and what he was saying was what he had observed.
Manyage said it was his instruction that Mokhumola was the one who had brought Thato to Mbatha after entering his shack.
"You did not tell Mbatha that the deceased had already been searched while inside the shack and that no gun had been found on him."
Mokhumola denied this.
"When I returned to the shack for the second time, he was still holding the gun on Mokoka, who was face down. While I was busy searching, I heard gunshots."
The trial continues.