State on shaky grounds in 'racial discrimination' case

16 Jun 2013 06:50
GOBABIS, 16 JUNE (NAMPA) ? The bail hearing into the racial discrimination case, which emanates from an assault on a young entrepreneur after he allegedly entered a ?whites-only? bar here, was once again postponed.
Presiding Magistrate Victor Nyazo postponed the hearing to 24 June 2013 for finalisation after three consecutive days of arguments from both the defense and the state, which included the summoning of witnesses.
The state found itself on shaky grounds during most of its own witnesses? testimonies during last week?s hearing.
Most of the state witnesses called did little to aid the prosecution?s case that Levi Katire was indeed assaulted due to the colour of his skin.
The witnesses also struggled to prove the state?s assertion that the owners of Buffalo?s were in fact enlisting club membership on racial grounds.
The state?s first witness, Gobabis Constituency councillor Phillipus Katamelo, fared relatively well as he supported the state?s assertion that releasing the suspects on bail will not be in the interest of the public.
Katamelo, however, came under fire from defense counsel Louis Botes, who countered that the councillor?s views were merely based on hearsay and on an ?ill-conceived public outcry?.
Botes also charged that Katamelo, who was also a signatory to one of the petitions entered into court as evidence, acted irresponsibly by supporting such a cause without properly investigating the allegations against the Buffalo?s owners.
?You ought to lead by example, and not be party to petitions of which the content is unclear to you. By doing so, you conceived and created a petition that is ill-informed and factually distorted,? he said.
Katamelo, who during the cross-examination exchanged hard words with the defense counsel, noted that the injuries to Katire?s neck and head was enough evidence for him to deduce that Katire was indeed the victim of a brutal attack.
?I am sure the defense counsel never went to see Mr Katire. If you did, you would have realised the extent of his injuries. So, based on that, I safely concluded that the assault on Katire was indeed a brutal and orchestrated one,? Katamelo responded.
Not finding his way with the councillor during follow-up questions, Botes argued that Katamelo was being intentionally evasive to questions, and a clearly agitated Botes told Katamelo: ?You are the worst witness I have seen in my life?.
The state?s remaining two witnesses, Gobabis Municipality Chief Executive Officer Efraim Dawids and the Police investigating officer into the matter Sergeant Elvin Gariseb, did not do much to prove the state?s case.
Dawids could not reflect much light on the events which transpired during the evening of 01 June, as according to him, he was out of town and had little knowledge of the events.
The CEO, under examination from State Prosecutor Johan Pienaar, could also not say what the specifications were for a bar to operate on a ?members only? mode, noting that: ?There is provision made for the operations of such businesses, but I cannot go into the nitty gritty of what member?s only entail.?
Gariseb, on the other hand, appeared to crumble under pressure from Botes during cross-examination, as it came to light that his account of events of 01 June, according to witness statements, did not entirely correlate with Katire?s statement to the police.
?Sir, I put it to you that you are intentionally attempting to bolster the state?s case by spreading falsehoods. Your so-called eye witness statements do not correlate, and the state?s version of events on record and your testimony also differ,? Botes noted.
Botes charged that Gariseb has been unfaithful as a witness, and submitted to the court that his entire testimony be rejected.
The state?s forensic experts could also not make it to Gobabis on the day to study the disputed close circuit television (CCTV) footage, as he was allegedly caught up in other prior engagements.
The defense, as such, informed the court that they will forgo the CCTV footage as evidence during the bail hearing in the interest of a speedy finalisation of the hearing.
(NAMPA)
CT/ND