Gang found guilty of Camps Bay rob­beries

Vic­tims ‘de­lighted’ at judg­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SAN­DISO PHAL­ISO

CAMPS BAY res­i­dents who fell vic­tim to a gang of armed in­trud­ers who com­mit­ted a spate of rob­beries and two rapes be­tween 2006 and 2008, have heaved a sigh of re­lief af­ter the Western Cape High Court found all five sus­pects guilty.

Af­ter the ver­dict yes­ter­day, Camps Bay Watch chair­man Ian Mer­ring­ton said res­i­dents were “de­lighted” at the judg­ment against Luis Mo­madi, Arnold Faife, Roge­rio Laice, Se­bas­tine Okele and Tham­sanqa Ma­fuya for rob­bing 20 homes in the area in the two years to 2008.

“We feel that all our ef­forts and sac­ri­fices have been worth­while,” said Mer­ring­ton, adding that “these dan­ger­ous and vi­o­lent crim­i­nals will now spend many years in jail.”

The men, he added, could no longer “ter­rorise in­no­cent and law-abid­ing cit­i­zens”.

Mo­madi, Faife and Laice were con­victed of house­break­ing, rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances and pos­ses­sion of stolen prop­erty, while Ma­fuya and Okele were found guilty of the lesser charge of pos­ses­sion of stolen prop­erty.

Mo­madi, who was de­scribed by Judge James Yek­iso as the group “com­man­der”, was also found guilty of two counts of rape.

Of Ma­fuya, Judge Yek­iso said there was no ev­i­dence to sug­gest he was in­volved in all the ac­tiv­i­ties in which the other four took part.

But he con­victed Ma­fuya be­cause he had not given the court a sat­is­fac­tory ac­count of why he had a stolen phone and watch in his pos­ses­sion.

The five men have been held in cus­tody since their ar­rest in De­cem­ber 2008, when they were charged with more than 20 counts of rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances. Mo­madi was the only ac­cused in­volved in the rapes.

State pros­e­cu­tor Denise Greyling con­tended that the five acted with com­mon pur­pose as they ter­rorised Camps Bay for more than two years, be­fore they were ar­rested af­ter a shootout in which they were caught red- handed by the owner of a house they had tar­geted.

They had pleaded not guilty, but were re­fused bail.

Court records showed that the men would en­ter their vic­tims’ homes, tie them up with rope, beat them, and then steal valu­ables such as jew­ellery, lap­tops, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances and cash.

On the rape charges, the records showed that Mo­madi en­tered a house owned by an el­derly wo­man. He raped her while his fel­low gang mem­bers ran­sacked her house.

In the sec­ond case, he raped a home­owner’s friend, af­ter as­sault­ing the man.

It emerged in court yes­ter­day that all de­fence rep­re­sen­ta­tives had asked for charges to be dropped. They sub­mit­ted that this was be­cause the State had not pro­duced suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to prove its case be­yond rea­son­able doubt.

But Judge Yek­iso only dropped counts 11 and 12, which re­lated to spe­cific in­ci­dents of house­break­ing and rob­bery.

Judge Yek­iso said Mo­madi, Faife and Laice were chauf­feured by Okele to the crime scenes, a task for which Okele was paid be­tween R100 and R150 per trip.

Okele had de­nied any in­volve­ment in the crimes.

He said the crim­i­nals had sim­ply told him that they were work­ing in Camps Bay.

The first ac­cused to be ar­rested was Mo­madi.

Mo­madi was wounded in a shootout in­volv­ing a home­owner and se­cu­rity com­pany per­son­nel.

Ma­fuya was ar­rested shortly af­ter­wards when he went to Camps Bay po­lice sta­tion to in­quire about Mo­madi.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions then led to the ar­rests of Okele, Faife and Laice.

Dur­ing the trial Mo­madi, Faife and Laice con­tested the ad­mis­si­bil­ity of their con­fes­sion state­ments. Judge Yek­iso ruled that the state­ments could be handed in as ev­i­dence.

Judge Yek­iso told the court that Faife had been con­victed in 2007 by the Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court of five counts of house rob­bery. Faife was then sen­tenced to two years in prison, sus­pended for five years.

Sen­tenc­ing will take place at a date to be an­nounced. – West Cape News

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