‘Frustrating my clients leaves a lot to be desired’
DEFENCE attorney Machawe Sithole says the manner in which the crown is frustrating his clients by adding more charges leaves a lot to be desired.
Sithole is representing the four suspect rhino poachers.
He made this submission on Wednesday before Judge Nkosi as he said the charges that amount to 14 preferred against his clients did not form part of the initial charge of Contravening the Game Act.
Sithole said the inclusion of the other charges were not in any way relevant to the charge of Contravening the Game Act, as such should not have been added by the crown. He said the first accused person Stanley Nhlakalufu stated clearly in his affidavit when making his bail application at the Magistrate Court’s as to what transpired in the whole attempted poaching deal.
Sithole said his clients were not at the scene of crime when the shooting happened and further that one of his clients who was shot at the scene cheated death himself as he was shot by the rangers and police, only to be now charged together with the three for the murder of their colleagues.
“My Lord the manner in which the crown is frustrating my clients by adding more charges leaves a lot to be desired as the charges added are not at all relevant to the charge of the alleged poaching,” Sithole submitted.
The three suspect rhino poachers, who have filed an urgent application for bail at the High Court, have had more charges added by the crown as they are now facing serious charges of Contravening the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
To add on that, the crown has also added another of Contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act 2006, in that they allegedly colluded with Fana Mbatha, the ranger, in gaining access to the game park in order to poach a rhino.
They are also charged with the murder of the two Mozambican nationals who were killed during the alleged poaching. According to the amended charged sheet, the four suspects are guilty of the crime of Contravening the Prevention of Terrorism Act and that of Contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act 2006, amongst eight more counts added by the crown.
Although the four suspects were not the ones who killed their two counterparts during the alleged shooting, the dolus evencrown submitted that in a tualis case, the four are guilty of the charge of murder since the two would not have been killed had they (accused persons) not be the ones orchestrating the poaching.
Meanwhile, the three will know their fate today as Judge Nkosi postponed the matter for final arguments. He said this was the last and final postponement given to allow the crown to file its papers and ordered that by yesterday at 1630 hours, the crown should have filed same and the defence ready to finalise the matter.