South Africa

Murder-accused cop in Nateniël Julies case received death threats, court told

Murder-accused cop in Nateniël Julies case received death threats, court told

One of the three police officers implicated in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Eldorado Park teenager Nateniël Julies received 44 death threats and nothing was done, the Protea magistrate's court heard on Wednesday.

Const Caylene Whiteboy, 23, told the court through her lawyer that she’d put in several formal complaints regarding intimidation and death threats since December last year, but no action was taken.

The threats were allegedly from drug dealers and, just recently, from her superior, Sgt Scorpion Simon Ndyalvane, who is the first accused in the Julies matter.

Ndyalvane and Whiteboy were charged with premeditated murder, defeating the ends of justice, discharging a firearm in a public space and unlawful possession of ammunition.

The court earlier had that the 23-year-old officer was told to change the series of events on the day of Julies’s death in exchange of her legal fees being paid off by Ndyalvane in the ongoing case.

In a bail bid, Jeff Maluleke, Whiteboy's representative, argued that it was in the interest of justice for his client to be released on bail. He said Whiteboy was a first-time offender, not a flight risk and had no financial means or intention of leaving the country.

However, magistrate David Mhangu questioned whether she’d be safe outside of prison if she received bail, given the nature of death threats.

Maluleke argued that his client had already been kept in a place of safety due to the threats. He said keeping Whiteboy would be further punishment and this had been unnecessary.

He added his client would change her address, if necessary.

State prosecutor Mzwandile Mrwabe attested to the threats Whiteboy had received.

"We also have evidence that applicant number one has been threatening applicant number two. The reason why applicant number two is detained where she is detained now is because we were advised by a different court to do so," said Mrwabe.

The state unapologetically opposed bail for Ndyalvane, who it said "lied" and misled the court regarding his previous convictions. They said he may abscond from the hearing, adding that he could potentially interfere with three state witnesses known to him.

His attorney Paul Lisha told the court that it was in the interest of justice for Ndyalvane to be released on bail, citing his right to liberty.

"There is not a shred of evidence linking my client to premeditated murder ... Applicant number one did not discharge any firearm. He did not kill," argued Lisha.

While the third accused, Sgt Vorster Netshiongolo, had minimal involvement in the crime, the state also opposed his bail. The court heard that Netshiongolo was off duty when the incident occurred.

"Why did applicant number one not call a detective that had been on duty? We want to argue the answers speak for themselves. He wanted applicant number three to go the scene and tamper with the evidence... There was therefore an intention from applicant number three, who did exactly that," argued Mrwabe.

All the defence attorneys argued it was in the interest of justice for the trio to be released on bail while investigation continue. They maintained the state did not have a strong case. 

Court proceedings were postponed to Monday  for bail judgment.

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