The lawyer of the four suspects accused of killing two businesswomen in Polokwane, Limpopo, has dismissed cellphone records that put the suspects near the scene of crime as circumstantial evidence.
Makoena Mabusela-Leshabane (46) and Tebogo Mphuti (35) were shot and killed in their car 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 African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) and People Against Gender-based Violence picketed outside the court, prayed and called for the court not to grant bail to the suspects.
Distance from crime scene is no proof of crime
Defence lawyer Paul Whitey Moruleng who represents four of the accused says the fact that cellphone records show the suspects were 18 meters from where the women were shot doesn’t mean they committed the crime.
Moruleng says the car tracker records that police mostly rely 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 4 kilometres from where they lodged in Polokwane, to where they were killed on October 10, 2020.
Warrant Officer Gerald Kotze told the court they checked car tracking records at four toll gates namely, Zebediela, Kranskop, Phumulani and Carousel toll gates.
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 and maintained all the suspects are innocent and deserve bail.
Moruleng also told Magistrate Janine Ungerer that they all cooperated with the police during their arrest and that the court should consider that when deciding on their bail application.
#sapsLIM Two women shot and killed by 3 suspects this morning. Fourth suspect was in a getaway car, a red Hyundai sedan with GP registration. Contact Brig Espach on 082 576 0743/ Lt Col Boshomane 079 894 5501/ #Crime Stop 08600 10111. NPhttps://t.co/budQeEh1SV pic.twitter.com/iYO31yBAZh
— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) October 10, 2020
The shooting incident was captured on surveillance video cameras 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.
Opposing bail application
Police are opposing the bail application, they say the double murder case and possession of unlicensed two firearm ammunition are serious crimes 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 case has been postponed to Friday after the lawyer representing Stanley Leshabane had just started cross-examining Kotze.
Richard Mogoto 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 men 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.
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