The Star Late Edition
Meyiwa trial lawyers say Thwala’s testimony tainted by TV coverage
THE legal counsels of the five men on trial for the 2014 murder of Senzo Meyiwa have accused the soccer player's childhood friend of tailoring his evidence after watching the trial proceedings and the evidence given by others broadcast on TV.
Advocate Zithulele Nxumalo, on behalf of the fourth accused Mthokoziseni Maphisa, wasted no time pointing out how different Mthokozisi Thwala's version of events was in comparison to the evidence collected by the police, other occupants inside the house and neighbours' statements on what exactly happened on the night Meyiwa was killed.
Nxumalo began and finished his cross-examination yesterday after advocate Charles Mnisi concluded his cross-examination on behalf of Mthobisi Prince Mncube, the third accused, shortly before the lunch adjournment.
First, the legal counsel grilled Thwala because his evidence and the statements he made in 2014 and in 2015 to the police were not similar.
Thwala, however, said that he was informed by the police to contact them should he remember anything more about that night or to rectify the statements, as everything happened so fast.
He maintained he would not be able to describe the type of firearm in the possession of the intruder despite evidence of the sketch artist stating he submitted the gun was an old revolver.
He told the court that no one knew how difficult the past nine years have been for him following the death of Meyiwa, and after he was taken to task for laughing alongside the rest of the courtroom.
Nxumalo told the court that the statement made by Warrant Officer Mohlahlo indicated that blood spots were found in the living area next to the TV stand, meaning the scuffle between Meyiwa and the intruder happened in the living area and not in the kitchen, as Thwala testified.
Second, he read out the statement of Kelly Khumalo, in which she detailed how her mother, Meyiwa, Thwala as well as Tumelo Madlala, another childhood friend, had struggled with the gunman. Khumalo's statement also placed the scuffle with the intruder in the living area.
This while Thwala stressed during his evidence-in-chief and cross-examination by other counsels that he was not involved in fighting off the gunman.
Thwala said he would not dispute Khumalo's statement, however, he did not agree with how she saw things on October 26, 2014.
“I will not dispute what she said but all I know is what happened to me and what I saw that night …”
Another statement Nxumalo read in court was that of a neighbour who said after hearing the two shots coming from the Khumalo's home, he and his son did not see anyone coming out of the kitchen door afterwards.
This as he explained that his kitchen entrance and the Khumalo family home's faced each other.
Nxumalo told the court that Thwala was tailoring his evidence only after watching proceedings on TV.
Thwala refuted the allegation and even disputed the neighbour's statements, stressing that he left the Khumalo home after the first shot was fired.
Advocate Zandile Mshololo will proceed with her cross-examination today.