Scottburgh Court Round-up

OFFENCE AGAINST THE PERSON:

Amandawe sangoma Ernest Seymour Cele appeared in court on July 20, with the fourth new attorney since his arrest on a charge of murdering his girlfriend. Cele will be indicted on August 3 and will stand trial in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

THEFT & ROBBERY:

A 24 year old softdrink merchandiser was fined R3 000 or 4 months in prison, half of which was suspended for 5 years, after he was found guilty of stealing cheese to the value of R192 from Mooodley’s Spar in Roseneath.

At his trial, the store manager at that time, testified that the store owner had instructed him to institute searches of all employees leaving the store at the end of their shifts, because there had recently been a spate of thefts.

The manager had noticed that a newly employed security guard was not following the correct search procedure when searching the accused, and had asked the guard to search the accused a second time.

When the guard failed to perform the search correctly for the second time, the manager summoned a second security guard and instructed him to demonstrate the correct search procedure by searching the accused again.

During this third search, it was discovered that the accused had hidden two packs of cheese inside his trousers. The manager immediately notified the head of the relevant security company and the police.

The accused was then photographed with the stolen goods, before he and the first guard were arrested and taken to the Umkomaas Police Station. The security guard was not charged and he was released.

The second security guard corroborated the manager’s version of the events.

In his defence, the accused said that he had only been searched twice and not three times as the store manager and the second security guard had claimed. He stated that instead of the third search taking place as claimed, the store manager had produced the packs of cheese from the top of the ATM machine in the search room, and that the manager and the second security guard had lied in order to frame him.

The first security guard, who testified in the accused’s defence, corroborated the accused’s story, although his testimony became somewhat confused under cross-examination and he admitted that he had not seen the manager remove the cheese from the top of the ATM. Magistrate Mzila, in finding the accused guilty, held that she believed that the accused and the first security guard had colluded in the attempted theft, and not that the manager and the second guard had colluded to frame the accused.

She found that the sequence of events described by both the accused and the defence witness was highly improbable, and that there was no satisfactory reason for either the store manager or the second guard to want to frame the accused.

MALICIOUS DAMAGE TO PROPERTY:

Finding himself parked in by another motor vehicle, an irate male took a spanner and smashed the side mirror of the offending vehicle. He was subsequently arrested and charged with malicious damage to property. On the morning that he was due to stand trial, he decided rather to plead guilty than to go through the indignity of a trial. He was fined R6 000 or 6 months in prison, half of which was suspended for 5 years.

  AUTHOR
MSCRS Reporter

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