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Heist accused in court

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'By separating the accused they are hoping that one of them cracks'

ACCUSED: Bongani Nomtsheke, Ephraim Diseko, Joseph Ncoma, Patrick Mapisi, Ismael Bonakele Didi, Thabang Tshabalala, Prince Mosala, Tsapajame Moribe, Nceba Ntulo and Tshepo Moshou are facing charges of possession of firearms, possession of ammunition and robbery with aggravated circumstances following the foiled heist. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE SUSPECTS arrested during a foiled cash-in-transit heist in Kimberley last week appeared under a heavy police presence in a packed courtroom at the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Earlier in the day, a Hawks representative halted court proceedings “looking for one of the suspects”.

Bongani Nomtsheke, Ephraim Diseko, Joseph Ncoma, Patrick Mapisi, Ismael Bonakele Didi, Thabang Tshabalala, Prince Mosala, Tsapajame Moribe, Nceba Ntulo and Tshepo Moshou are facing charges of possession of firearms, possession of ammunition and robbery with aggravated circumstances following the foiled heist.

The legal representative for accused 8, Moribe, told the court that his client had been severely assaulted by police. “He has until now not received any medical attention or seen a medical practitioner.”

Visible bruising could be seen on Moribe’s face.

Magistrate Dolly Mokoto ordered that Moribe be taken for medical attention immediately.

Legal representatives for the accused also contended that their clients were denied legal representation during interviews, which the State denied.

Advocate Mrabe, from the Hawks, asked the court that the accused be kept at various correctional facilities until their next appearance.

“We submit that accused 4 (Mapisi), 6 (Tshabalala), 7 (Mosala) and 1 (Nomtsheke) be kept at the Galeshewe police station.

“Accused 2 (Diseko), 3 (Ncoma) and 8 (Moribe) be kept in Barkly West and accused 9 (Ntulo), 5 (Didi) and 10 (Moshou) be kept at the Kimberley correctional facility.”

Mrabe said that the reason for this request was because the investigation was still in its infancy.

When questioned as to the reasoning behind the request, Mrabe said, “We don’t want to discuss that now or disclose the reasoning as it could jeopardise the case.”

Legal representatives for the accused quickly shot down the request. One of the representatives, Jesse Clarke, pointed out that there was a travel cost implication and the accused would not have access to their representatives.

It was also pointed out that there are no facilities such as showers at the holding cells at the Phakamile Mabija police station.

He added that he thought the State was “playing games”.

“By separating the accused they are probably hoping that one of them cracks.”

The legal representatives asked that all the accused be kept at the Kimberley correctional facility.

Mokoto acceded and said, “The charges the accused are facing is serious but in this instance the interest of justice outweighs the financial prejudice.”

She then said that all the accused, with the exception of Moribe, be remanded at the Kimberley Correctional Services Centre until their next court appearance.

After receiving medical attention, Moribe will be held at the Phakamile Mabija police station.