Setbacks hit Mthethwa murder trial

03 June 2015 - 02:01 By Aarti J Narsee

The state's case against international artist Zwelethu Mthethwa has been dealt a double blow, with a key witness missing and the death of an expert witness. Mthethwa is accused of bludgeoning sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo, 23, to death in April 2013. He has pleaded not guilty.If found guilty he could face a minimum sentence of 15 years, the court heard.Prosecutor Christhenus van der Vijver told the Cape Town High Court yesterday that the security guard who found Kumalo's body had disappeared.If necessary, the state would bring an application for the guard's statement to be used in the trial.The court heard that another state witness, who was supposed to testify about Mthethwa's gait, had died. A new gait expert has been brought in from London to look at CCTV footage of the incident.The footage, and the tracking device on Mthethwa's car, form key parts of the state's evidence.The case was postponed to Monday. Shortly afterwards, defence attorney William Booth told Judge Patricia Goliath that Mthethwa was being "harassed" and "shoved" outside court by protesters."They are in your face, my client felt very intimidated," Booth said. The judge urged the public to respect Mthethwa's dignity...

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