Ashley Kriel waiting for justice
police antagonists, particularly as it is evident that he was already handcuffed.
Second, the size of the bullet hole in the clothing shows that the shot which made it was far from being a contact shot, a 5cm by 5cm hole, whereas the actual hole in the clothing was about 0.5cm , the size of the bullet. A contact shot would have ripped the clothing, leaving a massive gaping hole in the tracksuit top
To deal with this evidence, Captain Willie Visser and Professor Knobel testified. Visser did numerous experiments with similar clothing and the carcass of a pig behind the clothing. To his dismay he could not reproduce the small hole.
This should have been a warning but, alas, he soldiered on using a variety of background material until he could reproduce the same size hole by pushing the muzzle of the weapon deep into a sand bag which had the clothing draped over it.
To describe this sort of experiment as scientific nonsense is an understatement. It is scientific fraud at worst, or scientific stupidity at best for Visser. I blame him less than Knobel and Schwär who were aware this was nonsense and did not raise a murmur of dissent. The entire experiment was an exercise in futility.
The correct experiment would have been to drape the clothing over a pig and, using the same weapon and ammunition, examine the size of the defect in the clothing. It is not scientific to vary the parameters of the experiment to achieve the result desired.
During the inquest, we had the unedifying demonstration by Knobel with the muzzle of the pistol pushed against his bare arm, to demonstrate that the marks on the skin of the deceased measured up to the dimensions of the weapon.
It obviously passed Knobel by, that the test should have been done through clothing. Not against bare skin. That is not what happened in the actual case in point.
To describe the evidence of
Visser and Knobel as a farce is kind. It demonstrated a lack of any form of scientific insight .
Sadly, Schwär should have pointed this out, but his silence stands as a dark stain on his integrity.
Knobel, too, should have known better, but in his zeal to defend the police and at the same time to discredit me, he offered this travesty as evidence. Remember that Knobel was professor of forensic medicine at UCT and head of department.
There was no comment from the bench. Hoffmann predictably found no fault with the nonsense paraded before him by the two State witnesses.
Hoffmann also made no comment about the fact that the statements by Abels and Benzien were in essential aspects word for word proving the two colluded in the production of the court papers.
There is now a prevailing climate conducive to revisiting such miscarriages of justice following on the successful reopening of the Ahmed Timol matter.
The time is upon us to open the Kriel inquest.
Benzien, Visser and Knobel are still alive and need to explain their extraordinary behaviour to a court, and they need to convince the country that their evidence was given in good faith and not merely to protect the police from a charge of murder.
The ballistic evidence showed beyond any doubt that the shot that killed Kriel was in fact one of two shots and that the police version of events could never have taken place.
Hoffman was a tool of the police and a dishonest apparatchik in the ideological thrall of the apartheid government.
The malfeasance of Hoffmann and others of his ilk needs to be exposed, not only to bring justice finally to Kriel, but also to send a strong message to magistrates that for those who become state-minded, history will judge them harshly.
A screengrab of Ashley Kriel, anti-apartheid activist who was killed by the apartheid government.