Heated arguments at Modise church attack bail application

Heated arguments at Modise church attack bail application.
Heated arguments at Modise church attack bail application.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

Lawyers representing the 42 men accused of the attack at the Modise church last month have wrapped their arguments in the bail application at the Westonaria magistrate’s court.

Barry Roux, Eric Bryer and Frans Mphatswe closed their bail application presentations on Wednesday arguing that there was absolutely nothing linking their clients to the attack at the International Pentecost Holiness Church's (IPHC) headquarters in Zuurbekomon July 11.

Roux lashed at the investigating officer Sergeant George Maditse, accusing him of failing  to explain to the court what police meant when they said they found a lot of spent cartridges on the church's property.

“That question was significant but more significant was the evasiveness of his answer. We all know that if you shoot, the cartridge gets out of the gun and falls substantially in that area. We know that it means that a lot of shots were fired from the inside of the church…It shows that the investigating officer thought that he must at all cost oppose and answer the question in a way that would be bad for the applicants,” Roux said.

Roux argued that the accused had gone to the IPHC heardquarters to assist their colleagues after they were alerted of an emergency.

He argued that the state could not link the accused to the attack as the accused only arrived on the scene when the police were already present.

On July 11, five people were killed when a group of armed people attacked other people who were on the church's premises in the early hours of Saturday July 11. The attack is believed to  be part of an ongoing power struggle over the leadership of the church.

A total of 42 men are applying for bail following the arrests on the weekend on the attack.

Bryer echoed Roux’s views adding: “They had no idea of going there for a coup. The shooting was over [when the suspects arrived]. They were members of the church and they had every justifiable reason to go and investigate if they could assist.”

Mphatswe said the state was relying on the principle of common purpose to link accused number 1 to 18 to the crime because they were not on the scene of the crime.

He was referring to the people who were arrested in a Toyota Quantum vehicle and a BMW which were allegedly headed to the church.

Mphatswe said the state’s argument that there was a 9mm firearm found in the Quantum with serial number removed and three firearms found inside the BMW, two not registered in the country and the other belonging to a Mr Subramoney was not good enough.

He said the accused needed to be present at the scene of the crime and be aware of the assault that is taking place in order for the state to prove common purpose.

“They were just security [guards] being collected for work. They never had a meeting in the morning. They never had a parade where they get instructions that today we are going to do this and that,” he said.

On the other hand, prosecutor Moses Tshamano said the accused have a case to answer.

 “The state will argue that this attack was planned. It is not something that just happened. The state will argue that the accused one to 17, were part of the group that was inside the church. That is why it was stated that they were communicating with accused 22 who was already inside. He was arrested with the group that was coming out of the church.

“It is my view that accused number 1 to 18 all work for accused number 22 who is having a security company. They were all requested to come there by accused number 22. It is our view that they were not going to work. They were going there to attack,” said Tshamano.

Judgment on the bail will be heard on August 11.

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