Another delay in Bozwana murder case after one of the accused appointed new lawyer

Tankiso Makhetha Investigative reporter
Slain businessman Wandile Bozwana.
Slain businessman Wandile Bozwana.
Image: Wandile Bozwana on Facebook

The murder trial of Wandile Bozwana seems to have hit another snag after one of the four accused changed his lawyer at the eve of its resumption.

This comes after the state informed the court that Matamela Robert Mutapa, 42, changed his lawyer on Friday. Advocate Jennifer Cronje told the court that Mutapa’s new lawyer, Adv Anneline van den Heerver contacted her on Friday to inform her that she would be representing Mutapa, but would not be present in court on Monday.

“Ms Van den Heever phoned and informed me that she received instructions to appear on accused number two’s behalf. She said she will not be available today because she has a bail application that she needs to attend to and that she has not been able to consult her client,” she said.

Mutapa, along with Sipho Patrick Hudla, 36, 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.

Mutapa and Hudla recently claimed that they were assaulted during their arrests and tortured into confessing that they were behind Bozwana's murder. However, the court found that their confessions were obtained legally.

A trial-within-a-trial was previously to determine the admissibility of CCTV footage taken at a mall, a hair salon and a fast-food restaurant in Sandton, the Garsfontein off-ramp of the N1 highway and the parking area in front of a nearby business after counsel for the accused objected to the state presenting the footage.

The state earlier argued that the footage was relevant as it showed the movements of Bozwana and Baloyi in the hours leading up to the shooting and the movements of the suspects who were following them.

The footage was also used during the murder investigation and shown to informers to see if they could identify the suspects. A visibly irritated Cronje told the court that the partly heard matter was dragging on for years and that the family of the deceased was yet to get closure.

“We have already had two trials-within-trial proceedings and this is a partly heard matter. It is taking too long, but we also understand that it is the accused's right to have legal representative,” Cronje said.  

Judge Papi Mosopa rolled over the matter to Tuesday when the trial is expected to resume.

 

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