Confessions of two Jeppestown massacre accused will be admissible in court, a Johannesburg high court judge has ruled.
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng made the ruling yesterday after lawyers defending Mary Maleke and Senzo Mweli tried to have the confessions thrown out of court in a trial-within-a-trial.
The defence lawyers claimed that the two accused, who were once lovers, were forced into making the confessions before a magistrate in Roodepoort.
Maleke had testified that she only confessed because Mweli had threatened to hit her if she did not. She told the court that on the day after their arrest, she received a note from Mweli containing details of what she had to say in the confession statement.
Mweli, on the other hand, claimed he confessed because, on top of being beaten up by the police during his arrest, the investigating officer had assured him he would get bail if he did.
Mweli and Maleke are said to be the masterminds behind a robbery at the Honeydew Pick n Pay, which led to a bloody shootout between police and robbers at a house in Jeppestown. Four policemen and eight robbers died.
They are being tried for armed robbery, conspiracy and attempted murder.
Their 11 co-accused face 26 counts of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and possession of firearms and ammunition.
Judge Mokgoatlheng said reasons for his ruling would be incorporated in his judgement.