Law expert Dr. Llewellyn Curlewis has described the unexpected death of a state witness in the murder trial of soccer star, Senzo Meyiwa, as a huge blow to the case that’s been dragging on for years.
Police have confirmed the death of Brigadier Philani Ndlovu. He was one of the first police officials to arrive at the scene of the fatal incident.
Meyiwa was shot at the home of the mother of his then girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg in 2014.
The death comes just days after defence advocate, Malesela Teffo approached the court to have the trial brought forward, claiming that the lives of the witnesses were in danger.
Five men are standing trial for Meyiwa’s death. Curlewis elaborates:
“Every witness in a prosecution is very important, especially if the state must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The absence of this witness as a result of him passing on might have a huge impact on the states case. Obviously, it will all depend on the contents of his evidence and to what extent his evidence is in dispute.”
Key witness in Meyiwa’s murder trial dies:
Ndlovu was expected to testify
Ndlovu, a retired policeman, was mentioned during the testimony of the first state witness, Sgt Thabo Mosia.
He was part of the first forensic team to collect evidence from the Vosloorus home where the shooting occurred. During cross-examination Mosia told the court that he was briefed by Brigadier Ndlovu when he had arrived at the scene hours after the shooting.
Defence advocate, Teffo poked holes in Mosia’s testimony alleging that Brigadier Ndlovu had tampered with the crime scene ahead of Mosia’s arrival.
Ndlovu was expected to be called as a state witness to assist the court in establishing what exactly transpired on that fateful October evening.
The trial is expected to resume at the end of the month with Mosia being cross-examined by the defence for the fifth accused.