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23 June 2011 at 09:55 - Posted by Anonymous

Bungling cops shoddy murder probe


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Several things went wrong during the police investigation into the murder of Hein de Jager and subsequent robbery at the hardware store where he worked.

Several things went wrong during the police investigation into the murder of Hein de Jager and subsequent robbery at the hardware store where he worked.

The police testified that accused Enoch Masipa, at the time of his arrest, “pointed out” two firearms in a cupboard in a bedroom in his home. He later contested this pointing out and said his rights were violated as he had not been under arrest at the time and his constitutional rights were therefore not read to him.

One policeman admitted that Masipa was arrested only after the pointing out of the firearms. Another said he was arrested beforethe time. Yet another said he had been arrested twice, before and after the pointing out. The judge could not accept this pointing out as evidence because the three cops differed in their versions.

Accused Bongani Modawe disputed his “confession” made before a magistrate while he was in custody. He said the police had promised him he could turn State witness if he made a confession. This was denied by the police, who insisted he wanted to make a confession.

But this was found to be irregular by the court, which ruled that his confession could not be used as evidence. Among the court’s reasons were that while the police knew Modawe had an advocate, he was taken for the confession without his advocate being informed.

Judge Cynthia Pretorius said this was probably because the police knew they would not get the confession if his advocate was told about this. She also questioned why Modawe, after having been in custody for six months, would suddenly make a confession, especially as the police at the time did not have a “shred” of evidence against him.

The police said they had not seen or heard from Modawe for two months when suddenly he phoned them from jail saying he wished to make the confession. They had, however, seen him shortly before, during one of his appearances in court.

“Something must have happened to induce him to make the statement,” the judge said. While Modawe was an unreliable witness, the policeman who testified on this aspect was also not truthful, she said.

Another problem was that no identity parade was held. Although the police had set up an identity parade, it did not take place because the lawyers of the accused were not there. The police did not call another identity parade.

Another questionable point was when the police located Langa in Nelspruit. He was in custody for suspected illegal possession of a firearm. This firearm was linked through ballistics tests to De Jager’s murder. Langa told police how he came to be in possession of the firearm, but they took no notice and did not follow this up.

“I cannot understand this,” Judge Pretorius said. - Pretoria News

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