Heavy lies the head that wears the crown – an expression that applies especially to members of the judiciary, who often have to ponder the imponderables as they try to make sense of volumes of testimony.
A case that seemed to involve “everything but the truth”, was placed before Regional Court magistrate Constance Nziweni on Wednesday, involving Sibusiso Maqhula, in his early 20s who, according to his own testimony, was relaxing in a shack with a girlfriend, sharing a dagga joint, when the police burst in.
The case takes us back to May last year, when two police officials were on patrol in a Cape Town township one evening, when a group of people stopped them.
The group pointed to a shack nearby, and said there was a man (Maqhula) in it who allegedly robbed people with a firearm and then retreated into the shack.
Maqhula said he was in the shack with his woman friend, when there was a knock on the door, and he asked who was there.
A voice outside said “me”, and Maqhula asked who “me” was.
With that, the door was kicked open and a policeman came inside while another stood guard in the doorway.
The first policeman conceded that he had answered “me”, because he did not want Maqhula to know it was the police. But he denied kicking the door open, and said he “pushed it open with his left shoulder”.
The second policeman said they knocked at the door and that it was opened in the normal manner by Maqhula – he knew nothing about the door being kicked open, or of his colleague pushing it open with his shoulder, even though he and his colleague were standing next to each other.
The one policeman searched the shack, as well as Maqhula’s clothing, and found an airgun tucked under his belt, a knife in the gun’s holster, and four bullets in the holster.
He said he handed the items to his colleague standing in the doorway, as court exhibits. Maqhula said the police found his wallet in his back trouser pocket, a cellphone in his shirt pocket and removed a knife from his waist – he knew nothing about a firearm or bullets.
He heard the one policeman tell the other to handcuff him, and noticed that the policeman searching him had a firearm in his hand. He was taken to a police station, and informed that he was under arrest for possession of the firearm and ammunition. He alleged that the firearm and ammunition were “planted” on him.
The shack in fact belonged to a friend, but he sometimes used it to smoke dagga in private.
Both policemen denied that Maqhula was in the shack with a woman friend – he was alone, they insisted.
Who the magistrate believes or disbelieves, and how she manages to unravel it all, remains to be seen but, no doubt, the rules and principles of law will help her to reach a conclusion.
– African News Agency