Cop shoots down assault claims by Khekhe's co-accused
An investigating officer, who was part of a team that apprehended two of the four men accused of killing North West businessman Wandile Bozwana, rejected claims that they were assaulted.
The officer reacted to Sipho Patrick Hudla, 36, and Matamela Robert Mutapa, 42, claims that they were assaulted during their arrests and tortured into confessing that they were behind Bozwana's murder.
Hudla, Mutapa, Mamelodi taxi boss Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela, 32, and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo, 38, are accused of Bozwana's murder and attempted murder of his business partner Mpho Baloyi in October 2015.
The four appeared in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in a trial-within-a-trial to establish whether Hudla and Mutapa were tortured into confessing to the murder of Bozwana.
The trial further aims to establish whether Khumalo was also tortured into making a warning statement.
The investigating officer, who cannot be named due to being in the witness protection programme, told the court she did not see the pair (Hudla and Mutapa) being assaulted during their arrests.
The officer, who was cross-examined by prosecutor Adv Jennifer Cronje, related the events of the arrest and her role in questioning the suspects.
"I was a part of the team that went to apprehend the two accused. When we arrived at the scene, we told everyone to lie down and I was part of the team that was guarding the people who were lying on the floor," the officer said yesterday.
Cronje further asked whether the officer saw who assaulted Hudla and Mutapa while at the scene of the arrest.
"No. I did not see anyone assaulting them. But from there, we went to our offices in Aeroton and we were called and asked to meet the other members at a [Jabulani] hostel where we were needed to conduct a search. Accused 1 (Hudla) was there, but it appeared that we were at the wrong address. I didn't see anyone assaulting him," the officer said.
The court heard the officers and Hudla then proceeded to his rented room in Noordgesig, Soweto, where they conducted a search in the presence of his landlord.
I didn't see anyone assaulting him
Asked about Hudla's demeanour while police searched his Noordgesig room, the officer said: "He was very calm and cooperative. He wasn't loud and was talking softly. He was calm."
The officer further told the court they played no role in obtaining the confessions made by Hudla and Mutapa and the warning statement made by Khumalo.
"I only took the warning statement for accused 1 (Hudla) on November 15, 2015," the officer said.
She told the court Hudla said he had no injuries at the time the statement was drafted nor was he threatened.
"Accused 1 (Hudla) did not make a statement, because he said he had already made a confession statement with a colonel whose name I cannot remember right now."
The trial continues today.
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