Clos­ing ar­gu­ments at Donile mur­der trial

Ac­cused’s ev­i­dence tested by de­fence, state

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

Mur­der ac­cused Tonny Donile sat in the Port Al­fred Mag­is­trate’s Court on Thurs­day and Fri­day last week while pros­e­cu­tor Jo­han Carstens and de­fence advocate Mark Botha made their clos­ing ar­gu­ments, each sum­ming up the ev­i­dence to convict or ac­quit him of two deaths.

Donile was ar­rested in the early hours of the morn­ing on Au­gust 10 2016 after he left the scene of the se­cond vic­tim, lo­cal busi­ness­man Noel Mad­docks, and has been in po­lice cus­tody since then. He has been ac­cused of two mur­ders, the first from 2010 when Donile killed a man – al­legedly in self-de­fence – who had at­tempted to steal from a tav­ern in Ne­mato that Donile owned, and the se­cond that of Mad­docks.

In his clos­ing ar­gu­ments Carstens con­ceded that nei­ther mur­der was pre­me­di­ated. He also said that, in the Mad­docks case, Donile’s for­mer girl­friend, Pia Roser, had been an ex­cel­lent wit­ness who had painted a very vivid pic­ture of the events in Au­gust 2016.

“She told the court that she and Donile were no longer in a re­la­tion­ship at the time of the Mad­docks mur­der and that he had bro­ken into the Al­fred Road home where the cou­ple had lived to­gether. The cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence has no grey ar­eas.

“What Miss Roser re­ported was cred­i­ble and con­sis­tent with the ev­i­dence,” said Carstens.

“The two sto­ries [given by Donile and Roser] can­not be rec­on­ciled. It is clear from the num­ber of stab wounds on the vic­tim’s body that Donile stabbed him nu­mer­ous times in the bed­room with the in­tent to mur­der him,” he said.

He went on to say Donile’s claim the 38 or more stab wounds were car­ried out by the doc­tor or med­i­cal staff was “ab­surd”.

It was then the turn of Donile’s cur­rent at­tor­ney, Botha, who summed up the case on be­half of his client on Fri­day. Since his ar­rest, Donile has had two at­tor­neys with­draw­ing from his case, one claim­ing eth­i­cal rea­sons and the other fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions.

With re­gard to the first mur­der charge, Botha ar­gued that his client had felt threat­ened by the man, who had bro­ken into Donile’s tav­ern who would not stay down once Donile had sub­dued him, but that the vic­tim had at­tempted to grab a weapon and Donile had had no choice but to de­fend him­self from an im­mi­nent at­tack.

“The DPP [Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions] did not pros­e­cute. Now, years later, they throw it back al­though they did not be­lieve he had com­mit­ted a crime at the time. My client has to now re­call de­tails of an event eight years later, as though it hap­pened yes­ter­day,” said Botha.

“Be wary of the fair­ness of this case.”

At this point Botha re­vealed that Donile was a qual­i­fied kick-box­ing in­struc­tor.

“Now things make a lot of sense in that my client was able to de­fend him­self and used trip kicks to dis­able his ad­ver­saries,” ex­plained Botha.

Con­tin­u­ing, Botha cited prece­dents that show a per­son might de­fend them­selves against some­one who had bro­ken into their place of res­i­dence, even to the point of killing the per­pe­tra­tor, if the vic­tim felt their life was in dan­ger.

In the Mad­docks case, the first charge of break­ing and en­ter­ing was con­tested by Botha on the grounds that Roser had lied on the stand when she told the court that she had ever bro­ken up with Donile.

“I do not un­der­stand why the pros­e­cu­tion be­lieves Roser is an ex­cel­lent wit­ness,” he said. “She has been proven to have lied to the court.”

Turn­ing to the gallery, Botha apol­o­gised to the Mad­docks fam­ily. “It is not my in­ten­tion to cause hurt,” he said.

Botha went on to say that the ev­i­dence given by a doc­tor re­gard­ing an al­leged con­ver­sa­tion he had had with Donile wherein Donile al­legedly said that he had cut his hand in the po­lice cells, had been dis­cred­ited. Donile con­tends the cuts were caused by Mad­docks.

Botha said this, and other mat­ters per­tain­ing to the case, were clear ev­i­dence of a con­spir­acy against Donile.

Botha said that the blood splat­ter ex­pert called in to re­view the ev­i­dence had con­firmed Donile’s ver­sion of events. He said that the ex­pla­na­tion of the po­lice and the doc­tor had been “blown out of the wa­ter” by the blood splat­ter ex­pert.

“And Roser lied to the court, that is a fact. She was not an ex­cel­lent wit­ness at all. The ques­tion is, why would she lie?”

Botha held to Donile’s state­ment, that he had only caused two stab wounds to Mad­docks.

“It was clearly self-de­fence. There were many other knives at the scene but they were not ex­am­ined. The knife taken from the bed­room where Mad­docks was stabbed was lost. It had DNA ev­i­dence of an un­known per­son on it. Who was this un­known per­son?” asked Botha.

“The con­spir­acy the­ory does not sound so far-fetched now. The un­known per­son caused the ad­di­tional stab wounds after the po­lice found the body and be­fore the post mortem ex­am­i­na­tion.”

The case was ad­journed un­til December 18 when a ver­dict will be ren­dered.

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