Senzo Meyiwa trial: State argues for evidence to be allowed ‘in the interest of justice’

A trial-within-a-trial is taking place in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The state in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial have argued it is in the interest of justice it should be allowed to lead evidence in order to determine truth of the accused’s assault claims.

The trial-within-a-trial continued in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday to hear arguments about car tracking evidence the state seeks to lead a witness on.

The automatic vehicle location (AVL) report contains information about the movements of a police escort that transported one of the accused in the trial, Bongani Ntanzi.

The defence previously argued the police made several stops before Ntanzi, who was arrested on 16 June, was assaulted and forced to confess to his involvement in Meyiwa’s murder.

According to Ntanzi’s version, the police stopped in Alberton, Germiston, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Orlando. 

‘Silent witness’

Arguing his case on Monday, state prosecutor, Advocate George Baloyi told the court the assault allegations were of a serious nature and ought to be investigated.

“If the AVL records can assist the court in the determination of these issues that it is in the interest of justice that this evidence be allowed at this point in time,” he said.

Baloyi argued that the report will show the real time movements and geographic location of vehicle.

“The AVL records will, therefore, show if there was any deviation along the route to Moroka Police Station and we mention that the AVL records are a silent witness.”

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The prosecutor said that the state was of the view that it was not necessary to call a witness from the car tracking company to testify in court.

“We argue that Sergeant [Vusimuzi] Mogane can authenticate this information as he was the driver of the vehicle in question and has testified as to the route that he followed which is contained in the movement report. We submit that he can therefore validate the information provided in the AVL report as reliable.”

He also stated that no prejudice will be suffered as the defence will be able to cross-examine Mogane.

Baloyi further pointed out that the evidence was not new since the report merely dealt with matters raised by the defence during cross-examination.

“It is in the interest of justice to allow this evidence to determine if the [suggestion] put to Sergeant Mogane that he took a detour and stopped at three places to allow the accused to be assaulted is true or not,” the prosecutor added.

‘Competent expert’

Ntanzi’s lawyer, Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, in his heads of argument, told the court that Mogane was not a “competent expert” to testify on the car tracking evidence.

Mngomezulu argued that there were other witnesses who have testified on transporting Ntanzi and the state did not need the AVL report.

The defence lawyer said the state tendered this “new evidence” as a result of Ntanzi’s version.

“The state’s case is not found on the version of the accused number two. This version is put to the witness to counter the evidence given orally by Sergeant Mogane and this is documentary evidence which, by submission, was supposed to be discovered prior to the matter being set down for hearing,” the advocate continued.

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He said the state has not laid the basis for its argument nor has it established the agent who tracked the movement of the vehicle in question.

Mngomezulu further argued that an expert was needed to testify to assist the court with an objective and unbiased opinion.

“Sergeant Mogane is not a neutral person in giving assistance on the evidence of his AVL recordings. He is [part of] the team investigating this matter and his conclusions will always be biased.

“It is submitted with due respect that the evidence of the AVL records does not exist in a vacuum and that kind of expert evidence requires an expert who is not biased and does have an independent and impartial conclusion.”

Watch the trial below:

Mngomezulu submitted that his client will be prejudiced because the state was seeking to introduce the evidence to rebut the accused’s version.

“The time in which this document is intended to be introduced by the state in this proceedings on its own is irregular and the accused persons will suffer prejudice.”

He added that the evidence would prolong the conclusion of a trial-within-a-trial.

“The nature of this application must not be seen to delay the proceedings of this case. The reasons for saying that is the state had an opportunity to investigate all the necessary information either on factual base and on technical and scientific evidence that is purported to be used before this honourable court.”

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