#PrellerSquareShooting: Pre-trial phase to be finalised on June 24

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It is expected that the pre-trial phase looking into the murder of Bloemfontein businessman, Louis Siemens, will be finalised when the accused reappear before Judge President Cagney Musi on June 24.

Siemens, the then Managing Director of City Med was gunned down in the basement parking area of Preller Square on 10 May 2018. Since the murder, nine people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the matter.

It was revealed today during the eight men’s first appearance in the High Court, that not all the accused’s respective legal counsels had applied for and, in fact, received a copy of the finalised docket. Musi says in their next appearance later this month they will confirm whether all the legal counsel have indeed accessed a copy of the docket and discussed it with their clients. The defence will make its own admissions. A date will then officially be set for trial. The Judge President also revealed that the estimated length of the trial will also be determined at that stage. Musi admonished Prosecutor Johan de Nysscchen in his absence for telling his stand-in, Danie Pretorius, that he will not make any section 212 B admissions, pertaining to proof of undisputed facts.

In a heated moment, the stern Musi said they want the trial to be dealt with expeditiously so as to not cost the state more money than it should. The Judge President also said that this case will be treated like any other case and not receive any special treatment, referring to the Section 212 B admissions.

According to Section 212 B of the Criminal Procedure Act (51 of 1977), when “it appears to a public prosecutor that a particular fact or facts which must be proved in a charge against an accused is or are not in issue or will not be placed in issue in criminal proceedings against the accused, he or she may, notwithstanding section 220, forward or hand a notice to the accused or his or her legal adviser setting out that fact or those facts and stating that such fact or facts shall be deemed to have been proved at the proceedings unless notice is given that any such fact will be placed in issue”.

The men on trial for the murder who are between the ages of 29 and 56 years and include three police officers, a disbarred advocate, an accused in separate double murder cases, and a military man. All eight men accused in the trial were present at the brief proceedings.

They are Stanley Bakili, Mogoera Molebatsi, Kagiso Chabane, Mojalefa Jali Molusi, Moeketsi Lesia, Karabo Tau, Sizwe Mpati and Clive Tshivenga. The ninth man and assassin in the murder, Xolisile Mbebetho, confessed to the crime and was convicted in November 2018 of pulling the trigger that ended Siemens’ life. Mbebetho was sentenced and in turn became the state’s key witness. Three of the accused – Lesia, Tau and Mpati – are currently out on bail, while the others remain in police custody after being denied bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court previously.

OLEBOGENG MOTSE / OFM News