South Africa

News24.com | Palesa Madiba murder case: Judgment to be handed down on Friday

The State has asked the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to dismiss Palesa Madiba's alleged killer's version of the events of 12 August 2013 as "false beyond a reasonable doubt".

"The circumstantial evidence covering count 1-3 is substantial for the court to make a reasonable inference that the accused person was the perpetrator of offences," the State advocate, who cannot be named, told the court on Tuesday.

"[The] State did manage to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and we humbly request that the accused's version be rejected as false beyond a reasonable doubt," he added.

Dumisani Mkhwanazi is on trial for the alleged murder of University of Johannesburg (UJ) student, Madiba, on 12 August 2013.

News24 previously reported that Madiba went missing after a sleepover at her friend Tshidi Mkhwanazi's home in Phiri, Soweto.

Tshidi is the niece of the accused.

Madiba's body was later discovered in the yard behind Tshidi's home in December 2015 after a neighbour noticed an arm protruding from a shallow grave, News24 reported.

Mkhwanazi, who is accused of allegedly killing the UJ student, is facing charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, defeating the administration of justice, and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.

READ | Palesa Madiba - Gone but not forgotten

Mkhwanazi, in his version of events, told the court - among other things - that he saw Madiba briefly when he told her to leave the key to the main house in the kitchen cabinet and left.

He also told the court he did not make the alleged admission that he "crushed" Madiba, News24 reported.

A witness - Richard Mahlangu - had told the court the accused allegedly admitted to him that he had "crushed Palesa".

An expert, who also appeared before the court, and has no association with the accused, corroborated the evidence when he revealed the findings of the skeletal remains, which showed that Madiba had injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.

"One can safely assume that Mahlangu's evidence is factually accurate. It is an indication that he had inside information about what occurred, in all probability the only person who could have given this information is the accused.

"Mahlangu did not have contact with Palesa on that day; the last person to have contact is Mkhwanazi. The only person who could have given this information – that was factually correct – is the accused. This is a safeguard that renders Mahlangu's evidence as reliable," the State argued during closing arguments.

ALSO READ | Palesa Madiba murder trial: Accused told me he 'crushed her', witness tells court

The State further told the court the accused was able to remember the deceased's clothing vividly on that day because his encounter with her was not brief, as he previously tried to tell the court.

"Mkwanazi indicated that, at one stage, he only had a brief encounter, but what is strange is that, although it was brief, he vividly still remembers her clothing, seven years down the line. It is indicative that he had physical contact with her. That is why he remembers her clothing so vividly," the State advocate argued.

Judge Prince Manyathi, who is presiding over the matter, also raised certain factors, which was not brought up as evidence before the court, so that he "can have a clear picture on the evidence that needs to be evaluated".

The State said that "if a witness does not further the State's case", there is no need to call that witness.

Judge Manyathi had pointed out that a photo in the evidence showed there was a rope around the skeletal remains, but there was no witness to explain this to the court.

"To call that witness was not going to take the case further. The doctor explained that, because the body was in this state, they could only determine findings that the injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma," the State advocate explained.

Judgment will be handed down on Friday.

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