The trial of Social Justice Coalition leader Angy Peter and her husband Isaac Mbadu continued yesterday in the Cape High Court after a week’s postponement.
Peter and Mbadu are on trial, with Azola Dayimani and Christopher Dina, for the murder by ‘necklacing’ of Rowan du Preez (also known as Siphiwo Mbevu) in October 2012.
Yesterday Colonel Riaan Redelinghuys, Head of Detectives at Mfuleni Police Station, was back on the stand. Defence aocate William King asked Redelinghuys explain several practices in the investigations of the murder of du Preez. King raised questions about the police officers “commitment to finding the truth” in the matter.
As the investigating officer of the case will not be called by the state, Redelinghuys was questioned on many aspects of the investigation.
King argued that there were multiple instances of dereliction of duty in how the murder of du Preez had been investigated. Several examples were given:
No forensic evidence was collected at the scene of the burning other than the taking of photographs.
Even though the taxi which was allegedly used to transport du Preez to Blueberry Hill after he had been assaulted was identified, it was never searched for forensic evidence.
Police officers commissioned their own statements.
Even though Peter and Mbadu were allegedly identified as the perpetrators by du Preez on the night and he provided their address, which is close to Mfuleni Police Station, they were not taken in for questioning until late the next day. Their home was never searched for evidence.
Witnesses to the assault were not asked for descriptions of the perpetrators or their clothing.
Despite the fact that witnesses identified places in Bardale Township where the assault took place the owners of these establishments were never questioned.
Redelinghuys responded that he did not know why these omissions and “stupid mistakes” had been made.
King argued that the slack conduct of the investigation was at odds with the fact that it was obvious to senior police offices that it was a “big case” from the beginning – and because two weeks later Provincial Commission Arno Lamoer had specifically requested to be kept abreast of the investigation, following media reports which contained the allegations that the case was the result of a police setup. Redelinghuys agreed that from the start the case was – and still is – “out of the ordinary”.
Redelinghuys maintained he was unaware that Angy Peter and Isaac Mbadu were the murder suspects until late the next day despite having several conversations with officers who were aware of this information and, having being involved in the investigation of Peter’s complaint around the time her TV was stolen [allegedly by the murder victim], would have understood it’s import.
King asked Redelinguys what he thought of the defence’s allegation that evidence had been fabricated and that the police had no real evidence to link the accused to the crime. Redelinghuys denied that was the case and stated that the police had operated on the basis of a g prima facie case.
Source : GroundUp