Ex-gangster Staggie free

Reformed Hard Livings gang leader Rashied Staggie was yesterday found not guilty of the revenge murder of taxi driver Mogamat Ryklief.

Reformed Hard Livings gang leader Rashied Staggie was yesterday found not guilty of the revenge murder of taxi driver Mogamat Ryklief.

Staggie appeared in the Cape high court before Judge Nathan Erasmus, who labelled the only state witness, Donavan Richards, a "good liar who manipulated words to suit himself".

Staggie was applauded by supporters in the public gallery as the judge told him: "You are free to go."

Staggie had pleaded not guilty to Ryklief's murder. His defence had been an outright denial of any involvement in it.

Ryklief was murdered, apparently in revenge for the brutal slaying 11 years ago of Staggie's twin brother Rashaad.

Staggie had elected to remain silent, and not to testify, as advised by defence counsel Koos Louw.

Staggie's brother was shot dead and torched in August 1996 outside his home by vigilantes attached to the then anti-drug and anti-gangsterism organisation Pagad. Ryklief was killed the same week.

The incident received prominent coverage and was filmed by SABC TV news.

A summary of the facts handed to the court during the trial by prosecutor Anthony Steven, SC, alleged that Staggie and members of his gang had viewed the video footage and identified people involved in the slaying.

Steven alleged that Staggie had ordered the shooting, and that his instructions had led to the death of Ryklief, who was ambushed in his taxi and gunned down.

Richards is currently serving a jail sentence for his part in the murder - Sapa

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