Tempers flared in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial on Wednesday afternoon when Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, seemingly annoyed, gave the defence a tongue-lashing.
This after state witness Sergeant Vusumuzi told the court that a document containing confidential information about other cases he’s investigating, which the court ordered him to produce on Tuesday, had been seen by the accused.
Mogane asks, “I would also like to ask when I brought that document, was it for the lawyers or the accused.”
Judge Mokgoatlheng, in his response, didn’t mince his words.
“I am shocked that senior counsels like this can behave like this. This gentleman is correct that people can be shot,” Judge Mokgoatlheng lashes out.
Mogane had complained that during the break he had seen the accused gathered around perusing a document that has sensitive information about investigations that link some of them, saying such would jeopardise the lives of the witnesses mentioned in it.
“I am worried for our witnesses in those cases and some of those cases also affect some of the accused. In all these cases, there are firearms involved. People have been shot, people have been kidnapped and others have been threatened. Now, I am worried about my witnesses. There’s a couple of case numbers on there and it is possible that they can then get onto our systems to get the names and addresses of people,” Mogane lamented.
Subsequently, Judge Mokgoatlheng made an order that all copies in the possession of the defense counsels be handed back but this seemed to go against the same order, apparently at the height of his emotions. This was when Advocate Zandile Mshololo rose to request that the copies not be kept by the court.
“This document will not form part of these proceedings. This evidence has been contaminated. This court makes a ruling that this information must be expunged on the basis that other people’s lives could be jeopardised.”
Adv Mshololo then asked the court not to keep the copies, raising the ire of the judge.