In a shocking turn of events, right at the end of proceedings in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial on Wednesday, a medical report presented by the defence has noted no signs of abnormality with accused 2, Bongani Ntanzi, around the time the defense has been arguing he was tortured, tubed, assaulted and choked.
During re-examination, the prosecutor, Advocate George Baloyi, referred the witness, who according to the defence was present during the torture of the accused, to a medical report dated 22 June 2020.
The oral report indicates orally there was nothing amiss with Ntanzi.
“General appraisal – normal; TM joints – normal; lymph nodes – normal; intra-oral exam – normal; lips and buccal mucosa – normal; pharynx and tonsils – normal; floor of mouth – normal,” states Mogane, reading the report into the record.
Ntanzi was arrested on the 16th of June 2020, and since then, according to the defense, he was subjected to repeated torture by the police leading up to his first confession statement on the 19th of June.
Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu has sought to challenge the report, which the court has heard was submitted by him.
He says when he handed up the medical report, it was not on the contents but on the date.
“My lord, I am not intending to interject the evidence that the state is busy with. I believe the document the state is busy with was not admitted under Section 220. The medical examination of the accused,” says Mngomezulu.
Judge: He told me that you agreed. You! Mr Baloyi?
Baloyi: It was handed up by the defense.
Judge: You are objecting to its handing in
Mngomezulu: My lord, it is related to the date of the 22nd of June. Not on the contents.
Judge: Who handed up this document?
Baloyi: It’s the defence, my lord.
Judge: Yes, as I recall, Mr Mngomezulu himself.
Mngomezulu is expected to challenge his own document when the trial resumes on Thursday.
The judge in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial has reserved his judgment on whether the police erred in law when they interviewed accused 2, Bongani Ntanzi, on the murder of the former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper the day following his arrest.
Matters were brought to a standstill at the high court in Pretoria on Wednesday morning when the judge ordered the defense and the prosecution to consult the law on the events that took place when Ntanzi was interviewed by the police.
This after defense counsel, Advocate Zandile Mshololo, pressed state witness, Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane, on why they had not recorded the boardroom interview with the accused during which he was interrogated on his whereabouts on the day Meyiwa was shot and killed.
The state contended that there was no need to record what transpired as it was merely a preliminary process and not an official statement or a warning statement.
“The state objects to this line of questioning. We don’t see the relevance. The witness has clarified that the interview on the 17th (June 2020) was not a warning statement. And what is being read here is in regards to a warning statement. It states this form (proforma) is only applicable to the warning statement and whatever follows is in regards to obtaining a warning statement,” says Advocate George Baloyi for the state.
However, following the hour-long adjournment Mshololo brought a judgment, which she argued, indicated that the police should have treated the 17 June interview with the accused as a warning statement.
“The constitutional protection provided for in terms of Section 35 of the Constitution to arrestees is embodied in this principle. There’s no justification for any interview with a suspect who has been arrested or called in for questioning, without a warning statement being completed. The very term warning statement indicates the person is a suspect and has been warned of his rights, especially his right to remain silent before such an interview may take place,” read Mshololo the judgment in part.
“It serves no purpose to attempt to recognise that an arrestee is obliged to say anything, make any admissions, or answer any question unless he is specifically forewarned of his rights and signed the warning statement that he has been forewarned, prior to any such interview or interaction taking place.”
But Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng reminded the legal teams he was not merely an observer in the proceedings before he shared his own view.
“A criminal trial is not a game where one side is entitled to claim the benefit of any omission or mistake by the other side. A judge’s position is not just of an empire to ensure the rules of the game are observed by both sides. A judge is an administrator of justice. He’s not merely a figurehead. He has not only to direct and control proceedings but to see that justice is done,” noted Mokgoatlheng as he laid the basis for his view.
The founding member of Kaizer Chiefs, who became a judge after his playing days, quoted judgments that mentioned instances where the mere violation of a right did not necessarily mean evidence should be excluded.
“Therefore, not every violation of a Bill of Rights leads to exclusion,” Mokgoatlheng stated.
Ntanzi was arrested on the 16th of June 2020 for a murder case in KwaNgongoma and the following day Mogane and his colleague, the late Sergeant Steven Mabena, interviewed him in relation to Meyiwa’s murder.
Mngomezulu argued it could not have been fair for the accused to be arrested for one matter and be interrogated on another, while Advocate Charles Mnisi submitted the court was conflating issues.
“When the matter was raised by my colleague, she noted that each time a person is interviewed it must be recorded and my colleague (Baloyi) stood up and said that is not always the case. The court came in and said it must precede the charging of a suspect and the court invited us to bring authority. My colleague, Ms Mshololo, has brought the authority, a judgement. We were expecting the state to also bring such a judgment against what the defense has brought forth. Each time there’s an interview with a suspect, this form must be filled out without exception.”
medical report confirming no abnormality in accused 2, Bongani Ntanzi, has been presented at the end of the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.