The lawyer of four suspects accused of killing two businesswomen in Polokwane in Limpopo has dismissed cellphone records that put the suspects near the scene of the crime as circumstantial evidence.
Defence lawyer Paul Moruleng was speaking during the bail application of the five suspects at the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Makoena Mabusela Leshabane (46) and Tebogo Mphuti (35) were shot dead in their car at the industrial site in Polokwane two months ago. Mabusela-Leshabane’s husband, Stanley Leshabane is accused of hiring his four co-accused to murder her and Mphuti.
A group of women representing the ANC Women’s League and people against Gender-Based Violence continued picketing outside the court. They prayed and called for the court not to grant bail to the suspects.
Moruleng, who is representing accused number one to four in the murder case, says the fact that cellphone records show the suspects were 18 meters from where the women were shot does not mean they committed the crime.
He says the car tracker records that police are mostly relying on to prove the car was driven from Gauteng to Limpopo, also do not mean the suspects were the occupants of the getaway car, used in the hit. The state alleges that records show that the car used in the murder followed the women four kilometres from where they lodged in Polokwane, to where they were killed on October 10th.
The investigating officer, Warrant officer Gerald Kotze, told the court they checked car tracking records at four toll gates namely The Zebediela, Kranskop, Phumulani and Carousel toll gates. The records showed that the red sedan used by the suspects went through the border gates on their way to Polokwane and on their way back to Germiston. However, Moruleng says the camera records at toll gates do not clearly show who the occupants of the car were.
Moruleng told Kotze that the police’s case mainly relies on circumstantial evidence. He says confessions allegedly made by the suspects were made before Colonel Richard Moshomane, who was not in court to give evidence. He maintained all the suspects are innocent and they deserve bail.
Moruleng told Magistrate Janine Ungerer that they all cooperated well with the police during their arrest and the court should consider that when deciding on their bail application.
The shooting incident was also captured on a surveillance video camera at the crime scene. Three of the suspects work in the taxi industry in Germiston and Katlehong as drivers and a queue marshal while the other one is unemployed. Suspect number two is an Uber driver and the vehicle used in the hit is an Uber taxi.
Police are opposing the bail application stating the double murder case, possession of two unlicensed firearms and ammunition charges they are facing is serious and if granted bail the suspects might not avail themselves for trial.
Three of the suspects had previous cases ranging from possession of unlicensed firearms to murder.
The court was postponed to Friday after the lawyer representing Leshabane had just started cross-examining Kotze. Paul Moruleng indicated that during the previous court appearance one of the witnesses indicated that the state does not have strong evidence to prove that he hired the four-man to kill his wife Mokoena Mabusela Leshabane.
The Magistrate postponed it to allow the court to go through the previous recordings to verify if indeed the witness, who is a psychologist, indeed said that.
The examination of Kotze continues on Friday.
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