OR Tambo heist suspects claim unlawful arrest
Kyle Cowan | 2017-03-29 17:34:40.0
Together at last – the remaining eight men accused of being behind the daring cash heist at OR Tambo International Airport together in court for the first time as two police officers look on.
Image by: Kyle Cowan
The arrest of two men linked to the OR Tambo cash heist was unlawful‚ a Kempton Park magistrate heard yesterday.
Anneline van den Heever‚ the attorney for Khulekani Sibanda and Mosiuoa Motani‚ argued that when police swooped on her clients they did not have a warrant to arrest them or seize their possessions.
Charges against Sibanda and Motani were withdrawn last week. The State says it intends to reinstate charges against Motani. Van den Heever’s argument centered around the Sibanda’s cellphone.
She said she would escalate a complaint to the office of the District Public Prosector after police refused her request for the items to be returned.
“Each item seized should be returned‚” she said.
“Every moment they are not returned is a constant invasion of my clients’ privacy. The police cannot‚ with respect‚ go through the back door.
“It would be unlawful if they now endeavour to gather evidence by downloading or making a mirror image of anything on the cellphone to be used at a later stage.”
Van den Heever said if any evidence taken from the cellphone was presented at a later stage‚ she would argue it was unlawfully and illegally obtained.
Senior Public Prosecutor Peter Erasmus said the SAPS had declined her request for the items to be returned and strongly objected to her statements. “If the police stumble across a man raping a woman‚ they cannot first investigate and then arrest. If they stumble across a man stabbing another repeatedly in the back‚ they cannot just stand back and watch it happen‚” he said.
Motani will again appear on May 26‚ so the state will have time to investigate further and an application could be put forward to have him added back on to the case.
The court was yesterday set to hear arguments from two of the remaining eight suspects in support of their bail application‚ while four others were due to apply for bail.
However‚ the attorneys for Prince Dube and Thando Sonqishe argued they needed more time to submit supplementary affidavits.
The court was also due to hear the formal bail applications for France Manaka‚ Simon Thokwana‚ Sibusiso Job Mnisi and the latest to be arrested‚ accused number eight‚ Philakhule Ntanzi.
However the applications have been postponed to Friday for Mnisi‚ April 4 for Manaka‚ Dube‚ Sonqishe and Ntanzi‚ and April 7 for Thokwane.