Tight security at bank robbery trial

JUDGMENT in the R46million bank robbery trial is expected to resume under heavy police presence - to prevent a potential mass escape by the nine accused.

JUDGMENT in the R46million bank robbery trial is expected to resume under heavy police presence - to prevent a potential mass escape by the nine accused.

A source said the police had received information about a possible bid to escape by the accused during court proceedings.

"This is a high profile case, some of the accused have been found in possession of cellphones and other objects. We fear someone has been smuggling things to them," the source said.

Members of the public attending the trial now undergo a thorough search by prison warders and police officers.

And from today, even members of the media will be asked to produce identification and be searched before entering the court room.

Director of Public Prosecutions Charin de Beer said there have been fears of an escape right through the trial.

"Security will be very tight during judgement.

"There has always been a risk of an escape in this trial."

The nine accused, Elias Thutse, Fabian Damons, Daniel Mathaba, Dick Ngobeni, Jimmy Bilankulu, Muntu Mahlangu, Vincent Xaba, Themba Mahlangu and Simon Mncwango are charged with robbing a First National Bank cash point in Johannesburg of R46million two years ago.

Their trial has, since it started last year, been surrounded by controversy.

On the day before it was due to start, between 10 and 15 men dressed in police uniforms broke into the state prosecutor's office and stole documents and exhibits relating to the case.

They were never arrested.

X