Photo doctored, says accused

ON TRIAL: William Mbatha claims he did not rob a business owner.  PHOTO: MOHAU MOOFKENG
ON TRIAL: William Mbatha claims he did not rob a business owner. PHOTO: MOHAU MOOFKENG

WILLIAM "King of bling" Mbatha says a picture on Facebook showing him with a customised yellow Lamborghini laptop has been manipulated

"That is me in the picture, but that laptop is not mine because I have a white, and not a yellow Lamborghini laptop, as is shown in the picture," he said.

The picture was downloaded from his Facebook page.

The state has used the picture to place Mbatha, 38, at a crime scene where a Johannesburg businessman was robbed of cash and a yellow Lamborghini laptop.

"I would not have stolen a Lamborghini laptop because I already had one," he told the Johannesburg high court yesterday.

In the picture, Mbatha said, he appeared to have a beard and his cellphone was black.

"My cellphone is maroon and I do not have a beard on the side. This shows that the photo was doctored. I bought the laptop through my friend Shawn," Mbatha said.

He said the police confiscated the laptop, his phone and camera after his arrest.

Prosecutor Elize le Roux said the customised laptop was not easily obtainable.

But Mbatha said: "You can get it anywhere. You can get it in Japan, Dubai ... "

Le Roux dismissed his claims and said he had stolen the laptop from Ismael Omar.

"These robbers had a taste for expensive, exclusive and exquisite things. And Omar said it was you who robbed him," she said.

On April 9 2009 Omar and his family were ambushed by armed men who posed as police officers.

He was taken to his home in Meyersdal in Alberton, where he was robbed of about R200000 in cash, two laptops, two firearms and jewellery.

Mbatha is on trial for a series of armed robberies in which he is alleged to have passed himself off as a cop before robbing his victims.

Le Roux said the state would bring forward an application to reopen its case because Mbatha was disputing the authenticity of the photo. The trial was postponed to next week.