Credibility of witness in Coligny teen murder trial questioned
The credibility of evidence given by a witness in the case of two Coligny men accused of killing teenager Matlhomola Mosweu last year has been brought into question.
Pieter Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte are standing trial for allegedly killing Mosweu for stealing sunflower heads.
The pair's defence lawyers poked holes in the evidence given by witness Bonakele Pakisi whom they claimed had contradicted himself in his testimony.
On Tuesday state advocate Rapula Molefe insisted that the contents of Pakisi's testimony were credible.
He asked the court to consider all the evidence and decide whether Pakisi’s evidence was reliable or not and to decide whether the truth had been told despite any shortcoming.
Both accused denied seeing Pakisi on the day of the incident and told the court that they only saw him during the inspection in loco in March this year.
The court heard that in his police statement‚ Pakisi had said that the motorbike driven by one of the accused was in front of the bakkie‚ but in his testimony he said the motorbike was behind the bakkie.
He further told the police in a statement that Schutte took the Captain Morgan whiskey from the passenger seat and gave it to him to drink‚ but in his court evidence he said that Dooreward was the one who took the alcohol from the bakkie.
Pakisi further said in a police statement that Mosweu was thrown off the bakkie three times‚ yet in court he testified that it was once and that he was not sure about the other two occasions.
Molefe said those contradictions were clearly not material contradictions.
“What is material is that accused number two was on the motorbike and accused number one was driving the bakkie.
“What is material is that Pakisi was given alcohol to drink and what is material is that the deceased was thrown from the bakkie‚ which was consistent with what Dr Moraad said‚” Molefe told the court.
He said both accused also contradicted themselves as they told the police that Mosweu had jumped from the moving bakkie but testified in court that they assumed that he had jumped off the bakkie.
“It is submitted that the above mentioned attack during the cross-examination did not suggest that his evidence was not corroborated‚” Molefe said.
“The purpose of such statements was to obtain details of an offence in order to decide whether or not to institute a prosecution.
“A critical analysis boils down to the following: What evidence is more important than police statements? It’s a subject of cross-examination‚ which is a very crucial element of fairness and justice‚” Molefe said as he closed his argument.
Advocate Hennie du Plessis‚ who represented Doorewaard‚ said all the discrepancies were evaluated on a holistic basis.
He said there was no supporting or corroborating evidence for any of the allegations that Pakisi brought.
“If this honourable court looks at the objective‚ independent‚ definable evidence before court‚ I respectfully so submit that it does not support Pakisi’s version and in actual fact it is more consistent with the version of the accused‚” he said.
The case was postponed to October 17 for judgment.