Scottburgh Court Round-up

DRUG OFFENCES:

• On Monday, April 16, 6 males and 1 female appeared on separate charges of possession of dagga. The amounts ranged from 1 to 6 grams. All the accused were parents of minor children and all, except one, were fined R200 or 20 days in prison. The single exception, a father of two who was brought into court in handcuffs, had been unable to pay bail and had spent the week-end in custody. He was cautioned and discharged.

• On Tuesday, April 17, another 5 people were scheduled to appear on charges of possession of dagga. One of the men had been arrested in Scott Street in the CBD. He pleaded guilty to possession of 2 g and was cautioned and discharged. Another male was charged with possession of 140 g. Because of the amount of dagga involved, the charge of possession will probably be changed to dealing in dagga. His case was remanded to May 4.

• Two males, charged with possession of / dealing in 125 g of dagga on April 3, and who had been warned to reappear on April 16, failed to appear in court. Warrants for their arrest were issued.

• Skhumbuzo Shabala, charged with possession of 11 capsules of heroin, was granted R1 000 bail at his formal bail application hearing. Shabala admitted to previous convictions for housebreaking and possession of dagga. . He will reappear in court on May 16.

OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON:

• A male appeared on a charge of raping a 6 year old child. He was remanded in custody pending a formal bail application hearing on April 25. It would appear that the accused has a mental problem.

• A gang of 4 Amandawe males, including two elderly men, appeared on a charge of assaulting a suspected thief with sticks. Their case was remanded to May 8, pending the submission of the victim’s injury report.

• A mother, who asked that the charge of domestic violence she had laid against her son be withdrawn, was told that the prosecutor had refused to withdraw the charge. The prosecutor told the court that the accused needed to be referred to a social worker for counselling.

• On Thursday, April 19, Eric Maphumulo was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the rape of a mentally ill woman. This sends a clear message to members of the public that the abuse of vulnerable persons in our community will not be tolerated by the courts.

ROBBERY & THEFT:

• A former employee of C&B Liquors / Checkers Bottle Store, pleaded guilty to the theft of R97 536, 88. The accused had stolen the money over a period of time, slipping cash into his pocket instead of ringing it up on the till. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison, wholly suspended, and was ordered to repay the entire amount to his former employer.

• Sibusiso Ngwane (24) inadvertently provided the court with some unrestrained amusement when he appeared at a formal bail application hearing. Sporting his trademark EFF T-shirt, promising jobs and service delivery, Ngwane stated that he was not guilty of the charge of housebreaking and theft that he was facing.

He told the court that he had initially been arrested for possession of dagga, and that the police had added the housebreaking charge at a later date.

He admitted that he had a previous conviction for possession of dagga, but later stated that he had not been convicted of this offence as he had pleaded guilty.

He did not seem to understand that pleading guilty and being found guilty were one and the same. Despite repeated warnings by Magistrate Mzila not to answer questions put to him by the prosecutor if his answers could incriminate him, Ngwane continued to offer contradictory and ultimately incriminating testimony. After denying any knowledge of the housebreaking, and being asked by the prosecutor how his fingerprints had come to be found inside the burgled house, Ngwane admitted that he had indeed been inside the house with the intention of stealing goods, but had not found anything to steal.

In desperation his defence attorney called for an adjournment and when the court reconvened, he announced that he and his client were abandoning the bail application. At this point Ngwane admitted that he had no money to pay bail anyway, thus rendering the entire hearing a waste of time and effort.

He was remanded in custody until his next appearance on April 26.

  AUTHOR
MSCRS

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