Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trial Of Murderers Of South Africa AWB Leader Eugene Terre'Blanche Suspended, Rescheduled For January 2012

On Thursday October 20th, 2011, the trial of Chris Mahlangu and an unnamed 16-year-old teenager, both accused of having murdered South African Afrikaner Weerstadsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terre'Blanche, was abruptly suspended and rescheduled for a ten-day period beginning January 30th, 2012 after pathologist Dr. Ruweida Moorad testified that that fluid seen in photographs on Terre'Blanche's genitals which looked like semen was not present when she did the autopsy. This raised questions about the possibility that police may have wiped it off, which could trigger a separate obstruction of justice case. However, News24 reveals that the postponement is not attributable to any suspected irregularities in the trial, but was prompted by the death of a relative of defense lawyer Zola Majavu, acting for the minor.

Dr. Moorad said she could not confirm what was on his genitals but said it is possible for a man to ejaculate shortly after death because of muscle contractions in the genital area. Dr. Moorad conducted the autopsy in April 2010, a few days after the murder which occurred on April 3rd, 2010. All previous posts on this case can be displayed HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

Dr. Moorad also gave detailed testimony about the wounds on Terre'Blanche's body. She said Terre'Blanche's nose, ribs, and sternum were broken and his jaws were fractured in multiple places. She also said that his face was swollen and distorted; there was blood in his ears, his brain showed bruised and a piece of his skull had been pushed into his brain. She opined that the first blow to Terre'Blanche's head would have rendered him unconscious, which corroborated testimony given on Tuesday October 18th by the blood spatter expert Ian Van der Nest that Terre'Blanche did not move after his head was hit. Dr. Moorad also explained that Terre'Blanche's mutilated body showed no self-defense injuries, and confirmed that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck area. After the first blow, he was beaten multiple times. Black attacks on Whites in South Africa tend to be quite savage and brutal; this one is certainly no different.

On October 18th, crime reconstruction expert Colonel Ian Van der Nest also debunked the accused's claims of self-defense when he testified that the blood stain patterns showed Terre'Blanche was taken by surprise, beaten with a heavy object multiple times and had no opportunity to fight back. He said there was such a large volume of blood that it soaked through the mattress Terre'Blanche was lying upon. A bone fragment with soft tissue on it was found on the floor. Terre'Blanche was beaten by someone swinging a large rod in a style similar to swinging a cricket bat, and after the first blow, there was no movement by Terre'Blanche.

On the other hand, the trial has exposed possible police blunders centering around Constable Peter Modise, who told the court the teenager told him from the back of a police van he had overpowered Terre'Blanche in a fight about unpaid wages. He also said the suspect had "something like blood on his boots". But the state was later forced to admit that forensic testing showed that the teenager's white rubber boots had no evidence of blood on them. Then Modise, like his colleague Captain Jack Ramonyane, admitted his police work was not up to scratch. Ramonyane, who arrested the two suspects, admitted to fabricating evidence in his second statement written weeks after the murder. Modise also admitted to hearing the confession of the minor without an adult present and stripping him of his clothes while he was alone in the van.

Other stories have been published by SABC News and TimesLive, where reporter Charl du Plessis chronicles Ventersdorp's reaction to the trial.

Both suspects pleaded not guilty to murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking. The trial began on October 10th, and AWB supporters have been present outside the courthouse.

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