Lunchbox delights the family will love
Deaf murder accused insists he could not follow what was said when police took his statement from him
He described the case as fraught with challenges, including the fact that the sign language interpreter was residing out of town
Zukile Danti, who is one of the three former Efata School for the Deaf and Blind accused of murdering the school’s deputy principal three years ago, did not understand what the sign language interpreter was saying when the police took a statement from him.
This was an argument put forward by his lawyer, Sabelo Dingiswayo, at the Mthatha High Court on Friday. He said his client had informed him that he had also not been given a choice to exercise his right to remain silent when the police read him his rights following his arrest in November 2015.
Danti, Luthando Silwana and Lunga Khimbili were arrested in connection with the murder of Nodumo Mdleleni-Mzimane, 50, who was found lying in a pool of blood inside Efata on July 28 in 2015.
On Friday, one of the state’s witnesses, Sonwabo Mankuntywana, an administration clerk at the school, also testified. He told Judge Mpumelelo Notununu that he had acted as a sign language interpreter for the police when the three accused were arrested.
This included translating for the police when statements were made and the suspects were read their rights. He said he had also been used as a sign language interpreter when they made their first court appearance where they were granted bail.
But Dingiswayo disputed his version, saying the trio had only received bail after several court appearances.
“Accused no 3 [Danti] has informed me that he could not hear you at the police station,” he told Mankuntywana while cross-examining him. But Mankuntywana, who had earlier revealed that he possessed a matric certificate and had attended sign language workshops, retorted that at Efata they did not need professional qualifications to be able to interact with their pupils.
“We learn it from them,” he said. Dingiswayo also revealed that his client had informed him that they only received bail around February 2016 while Mankuntywana had been kicked out by the court, as the accused were unable to understand what he was saying.
The case has been postponed to August 6 after a witness, expected to take to the stand, left a note saying a child in the family was sick, the court was told.
Notununu said he was provisionally postponing the case as he also needed to speak to the court manager about having more time in court to do “some work” on the case.
He described the case as fraught with challenges, including the fact that the sign language interpreter was residing out of town, which meant the state had to make proper arrangements for her.