Gang case ‘re­lies only on scum­bag wit­ness’

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Devon Koen [email protected]­soblack­ Devon Koen

Al­leged gang boss Wen­dell Petersen and his co-ac­cused brought an ap­pli­ca­tion in the Port El­iz­a­beth High Court on Thurs­day to be re­leased from cus­tody – claim­ing the pros­e­cu­tion’s re­liance on a sin­gle state wit­ness’s tes­ti­mony showed the case was weak.

Ad­vo­cate Terry Price SC, on be­half of Petersen and his coac­cused, told judge Man­dela Makaula that for­mer co-ac­cused-turned state wit­ness Morne Nel, 36, had con­tra­dicted him­self and con­cocted a ver­sion other than the truth.

“[Nel] was a scum­bag wit­ness with ev­ery mo­tive to lie,” Price said.

All five ac­cused have been charged with three counts of mur­der and three counts of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der, among other charges.

It is al­leged that on Septem­ber 14 2015, the men shot and killed three peo­ple in and around Port El­iz­a­beth.

Price claimed that Nel had been un­duly co­erced to tes­tify and had in­ten­tion­ally mis­led the court.

He said the state’s fail­ure to call an al­leged wit­ness showed the pros­e­cu­tion had very lit­tle to go on.

State pros­e­cu­tor ad­vo­cate Mu­jaahid San­dan said it was his choice to call the wit­ness or not and that Nel had been a cred­i­ble wit­ness who con­tacted po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors to come for­ward as a state wit­ness, not the other way around.

Makaula said the mat­ter needed con­sid­er­a­tion.

Judg­ment is ex­pected on April 25. –

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