Views from the News 1: 23 February 2012

Views from the News

State wants life sentence for Humphreys

The Citizen-sapa

23 February 2012

Cape Town – Taxi driver Jacob Humphreys should be jailed for life for killing 10 children, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

State advocate Susan Galloway said the only factors that counted in Humphreys’ favour were his age and his having no previous convictions.

However, these were insufficient to justify any jail sentence less than life, she said.

Humphreys was convicted of murder, following an accident on August 25 2010 in Cape Town.

While taking children to school, he overtook a row of cars at the Buttskop level crossing in Blackheath, ignored safety signals and proceeded over the tracks.

A train hit the taxi, killing 10 of the children he was taking to school. Four others were seriously injured.

Galloway said on Wednesday Humphreys had had two previous opportunities to show remorse, but failed to do so. The first was when he was testifying in his own defence, and the other was when he testified in mitigation of his sentence.

"Instead of taking the court into his confidence and explaining his behaviour, he had persisted with his claim that he could not remember what happened."

Senior counsel for the defence Johann Engelbrecht said Humphreys had accepted the court’s rejecting his claim of not remembering the accident.

"He does not deny that he was on the wrong side of the road as he overtook the string of cars that were stopped at the level crossing, but he cannot remember it."

Engelbrecht said his client had accepted responsibility for the crash.

"That morning my client was transporting children whom he loved, as if they were his own."

To that the judge said Humphreys was approaching the age of 60. As he had been transporting a number of children for a number of years, he should have known better.

Sentencing would take place on February 28.

Boksburg cop gets bail

The Citizen

23 February 2012

Aarifah Nosarka and Yadhana Jadoo

A police officer accused of shooting and killing a Boksburg man after a raid at Presley’s Nightclub has been released on R2,000 bail.

Sergeant Raymond Le Roux appeared briefly in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

He is facing charges of murder.

On Friday, Rean Ramdin was killed while in police custody after he was allegedly arrested for drug possession.

The sergeant claims Ramdin escaped from the van as he was being transported to the local police station.

Le Roux said he fired nine warning shots and that the last bullet accidentally hit Ramdin on the left side of his chest.

Meanwhile, Ramdin’s family said they were angry that bail was not opposed by the state.

The case resumes on April 17.

Taxi driver contradicts Jub Jub version of crash

Sowetan

23 February 2012

Katlego Moeng

A WITNESS called by Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye’s attorney yesterday told the Protea Magistrate’s Court that the hip-hop singer was not telling the truth in his evidence

Benjamin Maseko said he saw two M ini Cooper cars colliding after he had passed them in his white minibus.

Maarohanye and co-accused Themba Tshabalala are on trial on four counts of murder, two attempted murder, negligent and reckless driving and driving under the influence.

They are alleged to have ploughed into six children – killing four and critically injuring two – when they drag raced on Mdlalose Street in Protea, Soweto, on March 8 2010 while high on cocaine and morphine .

Maarohanye was driving a grey Mini Cooper and Tshabalala a blue vehicle.

Tshabalala’s defence attorney, Mlungiseleni Soviti, questioned Maseko on the position of the cars in relation to his minibus.

Soviti put it to Maseko that Maarohanye said the minibus was still oncoming when he heard a bang from Tshabalala’s vehicle hitting him on the rear right.

"Are you sure because accused one (Maarohanye) said he heard the bang and at that stage you were still approaching from the front. Was he telling the truth?"

Maseko said: "No, that is not true. I do not know how he would lie. How can I take evasive action when they collided before me."

Maarohanye’s attorney, Ike Motloung, challenged whether his client had said that. Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi asked for court recordings, which confirmed Soviti’s assertion.

Maseko had said in his evidence in chief: "I did not see them colliding. I only saw dust behind me and that is when I realised something had happened."

When probed he said it was smoke he had seen not dust. Maseko conceded that he was distracted by hitting the curb and the sound that came from that impact as he tried avoiding the blue Mini Cooper as it overtook the grey one.

He said he was preoccupied with controlling his minibus but maintained that his "big side mirror showed him all the action".

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa, Maseko said: "I did not see the vehicles colliding."

The trial will resume next Wednesday.

Advocate in pickle again over drunken driving

Sowetan-sapa

23 February 2012

A FORMER Western Cape acting judge has appeared in court for alleged drunk driving, according to a report yesterday.

Advocate Robert McDougall, 66, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after his blood alcohol level was allegedly found to be four times more than the legal limit, The Star reported.

He was pulled over on Ladies Mile in Bergvliet more than a year ago, also for alleged drunk driving.

In November, he drove into Western Cape deputy judge president Jeanette Traverso with a golf cart, while she was playing a round at the Royal Cape Golf Club.

Traverso’s pelvis and shoulder were fractured in the accident and she suffered from a number of internal injuries, including a punctured lung.

McDougall, who is a senior counsel with the Cape Bar, later told the Argus newspaper that it had been a freak accident.

Raped and then killed his lover

The NewAge

23 February 2012
Chirs Makhaye

A man has been sentenced to a total of 35 years for raping and strangling his 16-year-old girlfriend by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Siyethemba Mdlalose, 22, pleaded guilty to the charges.

On January 13 this year, he went to the home of his girlfriend in Mdozi, near the northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Newcastle. After a quarrel, Mdlalose tied her hands and feet and raped her, before strangling her to death.

He locked up the house then fled the crime scene. His girlfriend’s decomposing body was only discovered by the neighbours after they forced open the door.

Mdlalose was arrested last week. He confessed to the crime and took investigators to the crime scene.

A Pietermaritzburg High Court judge sentenced Mdlalose to 20 years imprisonment for rape and 25 years for murder, with the sentences running concurrently before he will considered for parole.

Priest’s killers’ trial continues

News24-sapa

23 February 2012

The trial of four young Diepsloot men accused of murdering a priest during a robbery continues in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Kgaugelo Manzini, Thembalethu Sindane, Freddy Mahlangu and Jabu Ndebele admitted on Wednesday to planning a robbery at the presbytery where Father Louis Blondel was killed, but denied complicity in his murder.

This emerged when the State handed in statements the four accused made to police while pointing out the scene in Diepsloot, a township north of Johannesburg, where Blondel was murdered in December 2009.

The four accused, all aged between 18 and 22, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery. All four admitted to police that they and a fifth accomplice, Nelson Malope, had jumped over a wall at the presbytery.

Malope and Sindane gained entry into the house through a window before opening the door for the others. Malope was last year sentenced to 18 years imprisonment after admitting he had murdered and robbed Blondel.

The four accused told police they were not present when Malope shot the 70-year-old priest.

Ndebele said in his statement Malope had told him he had shot the white man because he wanted to press a panic button. He said they had decided to rob the presbytery because they wanted the money people gave to the church on Sundays. They were also looking for valuables to steal.

Ndebele told police they had only taken the firearm along so they could point it at the occupants.

Manzini said in his statement he had heard a gunshot while he waited outside for the others, and was handed a computer when the other four rushed outside.

Sex slave accused in court Friday

The NewAge

23 February 2012

Chris Makhaye

Sixteen highly traumatised young girls who were rescued from sex slavery and drug dealing from a building in Durban last week have been taken to a house of safety.

Three suspects, including the owner of the building, are due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today.

Eight of the girls were as young as 12, and several of them were under the influence of drugs.

Local Childline director, Linda Naidoo, said the girls were rescued after Childline received an anonymous tip-off from a concerned citizen on Monday about forced prostitution and child sex.

“The police had been told about what was happening before and nothing was done about it,” she said.

Immediately after being alerted to the crime, Childline informed the National Prosecuting Authority and the police. Naidoo said some of the drug dealers have connections with the police and they were able to clear their tracks.

Police spokesperson Col Vincent Mdunge said the girls were removed from a building in the Point area, where they were forced to work in a brothel.

He said the girls were receiving therapy at their place of safety to allow for a legal process.

Mdunge said the common trend was that some of the older girls (16 years and older) were being enticed with lucrative job offers through newspaper advertisements, then forced into sex slavery .

Solidarity official charged with rape

The NewAge-sapa

23 February 2012

An official of the trade union Solidarity’s Helping Hand Fund was arrested on Monday for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old destitute boy in the province.

According to a source close to the investigation, the child was allegedly abused by the 60-year-old branch chairperson of the Helderberg region at a resort outside Gordons Bay, in a caravan donated by the Helping Hand Fund to the destitute parents of the victim.

The child managed to record the incident on his cellphone. This evidence was afterwards described by detectives as “damning” proof against the suspect. The Helping Hand Fund is the charity leg of Solidarity collecting funds for the exclusive help of poor whites in South Africa.

Dirk Hermann, chairperson of the Helping Hand board, said yesterday they distanced themselves from the alleged rapist and had severed all links with him, describing him as a “volunteer worker” for the charity organisation.

Police spokesperson Col André Traut confirmed the suspect was arrested and charged with rape. He appeared in the Strand Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Hawks hold ATM gang carrying skimming devices

TheNewAge

23 February 2012

Nadine Ford-Kritzinger

Hawks Commercial Crime investigators arrested five suspects on Monday while the team were operationally active within the Helderberg area to prevent ATM-related crimes.

This operation was launched based on information gathered over a period of two weeks and a post office in the Strand area was under observation when a parcel with two high-tech skimming devises were intercepted.

Police spokesperson Capt FC van Wyk said yesterday: “A 31-year-old South African man was arrested during the operation and he appeared in the Strand Magistrate’s Court yesterday.”

On Monday, during the operation, the investigators received information about a suspect who frequently deposited large sums of cash in a suspect bank account.

An operation was launched and the suspect was pulled off the road while driving. “The motor vehicle was searched and 50 mandrax tablets as well as a undisclosed amount of cash were found. “A West African national man and one woman were arrested. “They will both appear in Strand court today,” said Van Wyk.

In a separate incident, also on Monday, another team of DPCI Commercial Crime (Hawks) investigators – in conjunction with crime intelligence and members from the Border police – launched an operation at the Cape Town International Airport and in the Khayelitsha area. “A well-known suspect and high-profile criminal who are on the DPCI’s priority list were arrested during this operation,” said Van Wyk.

Argument in deportation case

Pretoria News-sapa

23 February 2012

The Constitutional Court will hear argument on Thursday on whether South Africa can deport a person who committed a capital offence in Botswana without being assured that the death penalty will not be imposed.

Two men approached the High Court in Johannesburg to prevent the government from extraditing them for trial unless Botswana provided a written assurance that they would not be sentenced to death.

South Africa has abolished the death penalty, but it is still in force in Botswana.

Both men were accused of murdering their partners. One of them has since died.

The high court ruled in their favour, but Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe disputed the finding.

They have filed for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Teen murder charges may be dropped

Pretoria News

23 February 2012

Kamini Padayachee

Charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder against a Durban teenager in connection with her mother’s killing are likely to be dropped.

Astrid Tavira, 19, was charged after her mother, Freda Tavira, 50, was found strangled and raped in her New Dawn Park, Newlands East, home in August last year. She had been assaulted, and her wedding ring, cash, TV and bakkie were missing.

In September last year, Astrid’s boyfriend, Waleed Karriem, who is also her first cousin, pleaded guilty in the Durban High Court to murdering and raping his aunt.

Karriem, who was let out of jail on early parole in 2009 after serving time for another rape conviction, claimed in his guilty plea that he had killed Tavira so that Astrid could claim a life insurance policy and pay off their debts.

He said in his plea that he had told Astrid of his plan to murder her mother, but she had not said anything about it.

During her bail application, Astrid told the court she had spoken to Karriem about the murder.

“He spoke to me about it on Monday night, but I kept quiet,” she said. “He asked me again on Tuesday morning (August 23), and I said ‘yes’ and I kissed him goodbye.”

Karriem is serving two life sentences for the rape and murder, and eight years for theft.

Astrid was expected to go on trial before Durban Regional Court Magistrate Nanette Otto yesterday, but prosecutor Calvin Govender said the case had hit a snag.

He said that Karriem, the State’s key witness, was no longer going to be called to testify, which would have a major impact on the State’s case.

“The matter will have to be referred to the director of public prosecutions for a directive on what should be done,” he said.

Govender added that Astrid, who was denied bail and has been in jail since her arrest in September, could be released on a warning.

The case was adjourned to March 22.

Compensation fund fraud case postponed

The Citizen

23 February 2012

Yolande Du Preez

Two men accused of defrauding the labour department’s Compensation Fund of nearly R5 million appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Department spokesman Shadrack Mashalaba said the trial was postponed to March 13.

The Compensation Fund is a public entity under the labour department responsible for cover of workers injured during work, or who fall ill during the course of their employment.

The trial of Maxwell Ramaphosa, 36, and Samuel Elliot Mfeleng, 36, was transferred from the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court after a guilty plea by their co-accused, Jurry Sehunoe, a physiotherapist from Rustenburg in the North West.

"He is due to be sentenced on March 28," Mashalaba said.

Ramaphosa and Mfeleng are accused of processing and approving claims made by Sehunoe for services not rendered.

They allegedly made 15 deposits into Sehunoe’s account between February 2009 and November 2009.

Ramaphosa and Mfeleng were out on bail of R3000 each.

"They face 15 counts of fraud and 26 counts of money laundering."

Ramaphosa and Mfeleng were also appearing in two other fraud trials. The two were out on warnings for both cases, Mashalaba said.

Lawyers for the accused asked the court on Wednesday to consider consolidating all three cases into one. The decision would be made at their next appearance.

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