update


#SiamLee: Defence attacks state’s evidence as bail hearing continues

Siam Lee before she disappeared.

ADVOCATE Martin Krog was on the war path  on Friday as the bail hearing of his client, the 29-year-old man accused of kidnapping Siam Lee, moved into it’s eighth day at the Durban Magistrate’s Court.

Krog, on several occasions, suggested that the state’s evidence was “weak” as he grilled investigating officer, Ragan Govender about the kidnapping charge, the arrest of the Assagay man and the seizure of his black Mercedes Benz.

ALSO READ: Murder accused linked to #SiamLee’s disappearance and body dump site

The pair clashed repeatedly as Govender refused to answer many of the questions, stating they spoke “to the merits of the case”.

“The accused has the right to decline to comment based on the merits of the case but you are required to answer. You are making my job incredibly difficult,” Krog argued.

As tensions peaked Krog warned the investigating officer saying, “You understand the consequences of not answering? With your 25 years experience of the police force behind you… There is no evidence to support this case and it will come back to haunt you.”

Magistrate Mohammed Motala interjected and told Krog that “bullying [Govender] is not going to make him answer”.

Govender eventually conceded to Krog’s line of questioning saying the accused was identified as Lee’s last client on the day she was reported missing, based on an identity parade conducted after his arrest.

ALSO READ: ‘I have suffered enough,’ #SiamLee accused claims he was tortured

Earlier he had also told the court that CCTV footage had placed the black Mercedes Benz outside the premises at the date and time Lee reportedly disappeared.

Krog argued against the validity of the identity parade, as the accused’s photo had been shared with the 68 000 followers of private investor, Brad Nathanson’s Facebook page.

Nathanson and his team had also affected the accused’s arrest, almost two week’s after Lee’s body had been discovered.

“He messed up,” he said. “Do you not think that this compromised the identity parade?” he asked.

“This is just one of the instances in which he had messed up,” he added.

Govender “vehemently disagreed” saying the state would deal with the validity of the evidence once they reached the trial.

ALSO READ: State interrogates #SiamLee murder accused over assault claims

He said he was confident that the state had a strong case against the accused and that they would secure a conviction once the case goes to trial.

When Krog questioned Govender on the seizure of his client’s vehicle he told the court that the former investigating officer had simply “slid open” the front gate and manually opened the garage door, after spotting the vehicle through a window.

Krog  fired back claiming he would prove the seizure had been irregular and unlawful.

The hearing was postponed to 23 and 25 May, as the investigation officer had been called to an urgent matter in the High Court.

 

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Mariclair Smit
Journalist

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