State had wires crossed in Buffalo's saga - Court

30 Jun 2013 10:10
GOBABIS, 30 JUN (NAMPA) ? The State has no case against the main suspect in the Gobabis racial discrimination and assault case Niko Kotze, Magistrate Victor Nyazo ruled on Friday when he delivered his judgment on a bail application in the matter.
In the worst possible turn of events for the prosecution, the magistrate noted in his judgement on the bail hearing for the two accused that the complainant in the matter, Levi Katire, was in fact the attacker in the bar brawl which enjoyed wide condemnation even from beyond the Omaheke Region.
Nyazo said the purported strong case of the prosecution against Kotze has been shown to be weak and unsupported.
According to the magistrate, the defence has produced sufficient evidence before court to prove that Kotze was not the attacker during the brawl, as alleged by the State.
Nyazo made reference to the Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) footage from the Buffalo?s bar on the evening in question, which according to him clearly shows that Kotze came under attack from Katire.
He noted that Kotze has been retreating backwards after each assault on Katire - an indication that he did not intend to attack Katire and was merely defending himself.
The magistrate also ruled that the charge of racial discrimination against Kotze is weak as no sufficient evidence to that effect could be produced by the prosecution during the bail hearing.
?The charge of racial discrimination is largely confined to a public area as per the Racial Discrimination Prohibition Act, Act 26 of 1991. In the matter at hand, Buffalo?s is a private place and is not covered by that specific Act,? Nyazo noted.
Nyazo also questioned the State?s assertion that the attack on Katire was orchestrated as a mob attack, noting that evidence before court has shown the contrary.
?The complainant and his two friends entered a supposedly whites-only bar, filled to capacity with white people enjoying drinks. Yet only one of them ends up being attacked in the process. This clearly shows that Katire could have been the aggressor in this incident,? he said.
The magistrate said the CCTV footage shows one of Katire?s friends chatting to a white person while the assault on Katire is taking place, noting that he could have helped his friend out if he was under a mob attack.
Nyazo, although leaving the final decision on the matter to a trial court, however noted that the State could still have a strong case against accused number two in the matter ? Frederick du Plessis.
Nyazo praised the defense team for playing an open hand in the bail hearing, whilst spurning the prosecution for having performed ?reluctantly? in putting their case forward during the proceedings.
Kotze was allowed to post bail in the amount of N.dollars 5 000, while Du Plessis ? who faces an additional charge of attempted murder ? was released on bail of N.dollars 10 000.
Gobabis Magistrate Victor Nyazo granted bail to the duo after a protracted bail hearing that lasted three weeks.
The case continues on 30 August 2013.
(NAMPA)
CT/JK