The credibility of the investigating officer in the case against twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, who are accused of plotting terror attacks in South Africa, was questionable, the Johannesburg High Court heard on Thursday.
“This witness put [forward] an interpretation of a photograph that is false,” advocate Annelene van den Heever, for the Thulsie twins, said referring to investigating officer Wynand Olivier.
Van den Heever said Olivier, who was under cross examination, had wrongly interpreted a picture submitted as evidence to suit his suspicions.
The twins, who were arrested nearly four weeks ago, are challenging the legality of their arrest.
Previously, Olivier claimed he could see a bomb belt and automatic weapon in the picture, but this was later found to be untrue by the media.
“Where you present when the twins completed their warning statements?” Van den Heever asked Olivier, to which he answered in the affirmative.
Van den Heever asked if any devices to do with bombs were found during the arrest of the twins, and Olivier responded: “We didn’t find anything, but we thought there would be something with an address … but we’re still investigating this.”
The twins were arrested on suspicion that they were plotting terror attacks against US missions and Jewish establishments in South Africa. The twins were also suspected of planning to join terror group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Although the police had a search warrant, it has since transpired that they did not have an arrest warrant when they arrested the 23-year-old twins.
Olivier, who told the court the twins were arrested after he received information from another suspect, Ronaldo Smit, said that the twins had numerous profiles on Facebook, some which he couldn’t gain access to.
Van den Heever asked Olivier why he didn’t use the provision that gave investigators powers to get information from a suspect.
“Did you ever consider dealing with the matter by discussing it with the [National Prosecuting Authority] NPA for guidance?” Van den Heever asked.
“Yes I did,” Olivier responded.
Magistrate Pieter du Plessis asked Olivier about Smit.
“Did the witness come to you and say he wanted to retract his statement?” Du Plessis asked Olivier.
The investigating officer said Smit verbally confirmed that the twins wanted to leave South Africa and join ISIS.
The trial continues.
– African News Agency (ANA)