ID HOSTAGE CASE put off

The appeal against the conviction of a 24-year-old man who held a Department of Home Affairs employee hostage, using a toy gun, was yesterday postponed in the Johannesburg magistrate's court.

The appeal against the conviction of a 24-year-old man who held a Department of Home Affairs employee hostage, using a toy gun, was yesterday postponed in the Johannesburg magistrate's court.

Kabelo Thibedi's lawyer, Jafta Mphahleni, argued that expert testimony in the case had been misinterpreted.

Mphahleni pointed to the testimony of a psychologist who said the two syndromes used to explain Thibedi's actions - sane automatism and non-pathological criminal incapacity - were not the same thing, as had been argued by the state.

Mphahleni said Thibedi had endured "severe emotional stress built up over a long time, in this case for two years and six months", before the incident occurred.

Judge Lucas van der Skyf postponed his ruling on the application to August 22.

Thibedi was sentenced to one year imprisonment in 2006.

On November 30 2005, Thibedi locked himself and the hostage in a room for about six hours, demanding his ID book before he would let her go.

The ID book was eventually brought to him from Pretoria by Home Affairs officials.

Lebogang Heather, who said she had been waiting for her ID since 2005, was in court to support Thibedi.

Young Communist League spokesman Castro Ngobese, who was also in court, said: "The matter has gone on for too long and justice must be done." - Sapa

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