Gang found guilty of Camps Bay robberies
Victims ‘delighted’ at judgment
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