Crime and evidence

5 May 2022

Boetie’s narrative about crime and evidence

09 April 2022

Sometime between Boetie’s first appearance on 24 January and his third appearance on 08 April, he told me about two events. These are of interest to ascertaining the facts of this case.  First, he said that the video footage showed him wheeling his trolley in the street. And not breaking and entering the property as alleged by Mr Commaille. He said that a guard from ABC security, who had seen the footage, communicated this to him. Second, that the laptop had been stolen by a man called Vino. He said that Vino lived in one of the wendy houses in the larger settlement near the municipal dump (‘uitvalwerke’). His partner Rosie became aware of this fact and got the computer from Vino. Then she gave it to some younger people and told them to return it to the owners. 

On 08 April Boetie told me that his case had not been heard at the magistrate’s court that same day. Due to the court roll being overloaded. Instead, the case was further postponed until 18 May. He indicated that a state-funded attorney had been appointed to defend him. The man had a Xhosa name, which he couldn’t remember. He also had not thought to get the name written down, with a phone number. This would have enabled me to contact this gentleman.

I shared with Boetie the fact that I had received and published several critical pieces about my earlier blog post on stop-and-frisk.

 

Lawyer to defend against crime and evidence

He also said that his lawyer needed to consult with him and wanted/arranged with him, to meet at the former’s apartment at the Lavanda flats just behind the Stellenbosch jail. The appointment was for 08: 00 A.M. and he needed taxi fare to get there. 

Instead, I said that I would drive him there and introduce myself to his lawyer. Therefore, we arranged to meet at 07: 00 A.M. the next day (09 April, which was a Saturday).

But I waited until 08: 05 A.M. and when he had not made an appearance I left to do some shopping. Boetie eventually arrived at 09: 25 A.M. and explained that he had told the lawyer that his attendance at the appointment depended on the unlikelihood that he was able to collect sufficient taxi fare. As a result, he said, the lawyer had sought him out at his place.

Apparently the lawyer said that he wanted to get the video film footage which Mr Commaille claims is incontrovertible evidence of breaking and entering and theft of private property by both Boetie and Rosie.

I then said to Boetie that I would take him then and there to the lawyer’s apartment at the Lavanda flats. Boetie indicated that he did not know the apartment number. Which raised a query on my side about his earlier claim that he had an appointment at 08: 00 A.M. Notwithstanding this lack of crucial information we still proceeded as I thought that the building supervisor at Lavanda 

might be able to assist us. When we got to Lavanda we spoke to a gentleman and a lady who were residents there and asked for directions to the supervisor’s apartment. They asked why we wanted to see the supervisor.  When I explained the reason they said that to the best of their knowledge there was no Xhosa-speaking lawyer living there. As they had been staying there for a number of years they would know about such a tenant.

Truth, crime and evidence

I then took Boetie back to his place saying that I planned to contact the magistrate’s court on Monday 11 April. This would be in order identify the lawyer and his contact details. From this we understood  that I would follow up on my request to the Onderpapegaaiberg residents regarding getting the video footage. I concluded by emphasizing to Boetie the need to be honest and truthful with each other as a basis for a sound relationship.

This communication was in the context of his (then) ex-partner  Rosie telling a fib to the founder of the Little Givers creche (in Devon Valley), Chriselene Davids, about my taking a raffle page to complete for funding the creche. (Boetie’s and Rosie’s young daughter attends this creche). I indicated to him that if he had anything relevant which he had not yet told me, but which I needed to know, he was free to, and in fact should, communicate that. Earlier he had mentioned that he had a head-ache. He responded to my last point by saying that he did not feel like speaking more that day.

Footage of criminals breaking into a car

Example of footage of criminals breaking and entering. SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk

Paul Hendler’s enquiries about crime and evidence

11 April 2022

As agreed I called the Stellenbosch magistrates’ court to ascertain the contact details of Boetie‘s lawyer. There was no reply to my e-mail and when I phoned the phone line was continually busy. I also attempted to call the SA Police Services. But their one line was simply not answered while the other line didn’t function. There was a message that I left on the landline that wasn’t answered – it had a message facility. Needless to say, I got no reply to that message.

I also contacted ABC Security as well as Stellenbosch Watch regarding the video footage. To ascertain whether they knew about this, had had sight of it and also whether they had copies thereof.

ABC Security’s receptionist put 

me through to a Martinus Janse Van Vuuren who works with Closed Circuit TV for ABC: he said that he was unaware of the existence of this footage and that I would need to get permission from the data owner to get a copy thereof. I should also contact Stellenbosch Watch in this regard, he said.

The Stellenbosch Watch receptionist recommended that I put my request in writing to their CEO, Mr Reinhardt Fourie. Which I subsequently did and mailed the request to Mr Fourie.

13 April 2022

On 13 April I managed to make telephonic contact early that morning with the Stellenbosch magistrate’s court. And they referred me to a Mr Andrews. He informed me that the case had been postponed until 18 May. And that they had appointed Mr. Ngalo, a legal aid attorney, to represent Boetie. Mr Andrews advised me 

to call the Stellenbosch legal aid offices (located in Eikestad Mall) to get in touch with Mr Ngalo. 

He also identified Warrant Officer Zibi as the investigating officer and said that the SA Police Services had the docket.

The Stellenbosch legal aid office said I needed to go to the magistrate’s court to make contact with Mr. Ngalo. Because effectively that was his workplace. I went to the court on the same day to try and meet Mr Ngalo.

There was no answer, so I left a message on Warrant Officer Zibi’s number but received no reply. Later, a captain at the police station advised me to make direct contact with her at the crime investigation unit. This is housed at the old Stellenbosch commando building just off the Stellenbosch arterial, bordering on Onderpapegaaiberg.

Process for dusting for fingerprints at a crime scene

Are Boetie’s fingerprints on the computer? SOURCE: forensicassurance.com

Legal Aid lawyer, Mr Ngalo’s narrative about crime and evidence

13 April 2022

I met Mr Ngalo at the Stellenbosch magistrate’s court on 13 April. He understood that I was supporting Boetie and also a further six other homeless people with food, and that I was also engaging with Boetie and some suburban residents in Onderpapegaaiberg regarding the alleged theft of a computer. I explained that I was doing this through a blog post on Stellenbosch Transparency, and that my reportage of mainly 

Boetie’s story had provoked a critical response in which some suburban residents claimed to have a video proving that Boetie had broken into and entered the property. They specifically said that this film showed Boetie entering the house and emerging with the laptop and then him and Rosie running off with it.

Mr Ngalo said that he had yet to have sight of the video.

He related Boetie’s version of events which is exactly what Boetie told me. I shared with him Boetie’s further story about the real thief being Vino, and how 

the computer was returned through Rosie sending the children from the settlement back with it.

Mr Ngalo agreed that a video incriminating them would be very strong evidence. In the absence of this the prosecution would have to call the witnesses to testify about what they saw and also what they saw on the video. He said that he planned to go to trial to hear and cross examine this evidence.

When I told Mr Ngalo about our visit to Lavanda flats, he assured me that he did not live there……

Warrant Officer Zibi’s narrative about crime and evidence

14 April 2022

I met Warrant Officer Zibi on 14 April at the Stellenbosch commando building. She explained that the video footage evidence is crucial. I understood that she had either visited the people from whom the computer was stolen, or  

contacted them telephonically,  However, she had yet to receive it. She said that the charge was laid at the police by a young person, presumably from the household allegedly broken into. I understood her to confirm Boetie’s story, about only pushing the trolley in the street, as his statement.

She listened to my repeating the statement of Mr. Commaille, and I noted her silent assent. 

The reason, she said, for the postponement of the case was also because of the prosecution requiring the video footage as evidence. I suggested that the court roll might be overloaded too, as a reason for the delay, and she didn’t contradict me.

But she clearly indicated that the absence of the video footage was a major reason for the case being postponed.

Trends of errors in eyewitness accounts

Eyewitness errors of evidence. SOURCE: cr4.globalspec.com   

Stellenbosch Watch response regarding  crime and evidence

19 April 2022

Mr Reinhardt Fourie responded to my earlier request saying that he had no knowledge of the video footage. I had also requested an update of crime statistics for Onderpapegaaiberg these past several years. He also said that any crime statistics would have to be sought from the Stellenbosch police station. Crime statistics, he noted, were not shared openly.

Security response regarding crime statistics and video footage

Correspondence between Stellenbosch Watch and Stellenbosch Transparency

 

 

Rosie’s narrative about crime and evidence

25 April 2022

Earlier I referred to Rosie seemingly telling a porky about giving me a raffle to complete for fund raising for the creche/kindergarten. In fact I had declined to take a  raflle ticket from her. Let alone to commit to using it as an instrument to raise funds  from other potential donors.

I asked Rosie about this on 25 April. Regarding the raffle Rosie said that she gave the raffle page to Lorna from Animal Welfare. The understanding 

was that Lorna would complete it and pay across the moneys to Chriselene Davids (the principal of the creche/kindergarten). She said that Lorna contacted Chriselene to arrange to pay her directly.

Regarding the stolen computer Rosie claimed that she has no knowledge about it. She recalled that Boetie went down Pelikaan street and then to the dam (near Horizon House)  and then Law Enforcement came to look for him by the dam. She was not with Boetie when he allegedly took the computer. She also did not enter that property.

She said that ABC Security was there when they came for Boetie. Mr le Roux, whom I  think is a municipal law enforcement officer, claimed that they had caught Boetie being in the street – and not on the property. She said that the camera only showed him being in Pelikaan street. As I understood her to say, Le Roux had seen the film.

She said that she knew nothing about the computer. She knows the man called Vino (alleged by Boetie to have stolen the computer). Vino lives with them. However, he had nothing to do with this. As far as she knew there was no one with Vino.

Concluding remarks about crime and evidence

The central theme of this article is the truth value of a claim and a counter claim. The claim is that Boetie and Rosie are criminals. Their counter claim is that they are not. Boetie and Rosie are proxies for marginalised homeless people. Therefore the implied claim is that homeless and marginalised people are criminals. Which is exactly expressed by Mr Flip Liebenberg in his 08 April interactive comment submitted to my post about stopping-and-frisking.

Resident attacks kindness to unwanted elements

No kindness to “unwanted elements”. SOURCE: Comment by Mr Flip Liebenberg, a resident of Onderpapegaaiberg.

A critic of this view is Mr Brett Commaille, also a resident of Onderpapegaaiberg, who said in an interactive comment (also on 08 April)  that to paint all Onderpapegaaiberg residents as demonising homeless people as criminals, is simply delusional. He criticised this view for being one-sided and an inaccurate and unfair description of Onderpapegaaiberg residents and also of Stellenbosch Watch security company.

 

Suburban resident contests accusations of anti-homeless prejudice

In defence of Onderpapegaaiberg suburbia. SOURCE: Comment by Mr Brett Commaille, a resident of Onderpapegaaiberg.

 

Unsurprisingly there are conflicting narratives between Boetie and Rosie and their accusers. At certain points Boetie’s and Rosie’s narratives contradict each other.

Brett Commaille has made a detailed description of their activities that puts them on the property, Boetie entering the house and their both leaving in a hurry with the computer. But Brett is no eyewitness. By his own admission he arrived at the property shortly after the event. He said that he had sight of a CCT film/video that unmistakably identifies them.

Footage to evaluate crime and evidence

The Warrant Officer in charge of the case against Boetie explained to me that the footage is crucial evidence and that the prosecution has been asking for postponements because, like me, they have yet to get the video. Boetie’s legal aid-appointed lawyer concurred that the video evidence will be crucial in deciding the outcome of this prosecution.

I asked both Stellenbosch Watch and ABC security whether they have the video – or a copy thereof – and they said they did not.

Thus the crucial evidence is the CCTV film/video footage. As I was neither at the alleged crime scene while it was happening nor have had sight of the video, I really don’t know what happened. I have asked Brett for the video and am committed to publishing it.

Until we see the video I think we should be cautious about drawing conclusions about Boetie’s and Rosie’s alleged guilt. It is easy for middle class suburbanites to call them out as criminals, even though this is potentially libelous. Being marginalised people they do not possess the wherewithal to litigate against their accusers.

Truth of the crime and evidence?

I have shared Brett’s allegations with Boetie. I made it clear to him that we need to be honest with each other otherwise our relationship will sour. Honesty means the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I told Boetie that if he needs to tell me anything more than what he already has then he should do so.  To date he hasn’t changed his version of his movements that day.

2 Comments

  1. C Vctor R HONEY

    Who was the first person to mention a video recording? This issue seems to be referred to over and over in the narrative!

    Reply
    • Paul Hendler

      It was said by Mr Brett Commaille, see his earlier comments. I offered to publish the video on the website. I tried to get hold of it, but have been unsuccessful – see my earlier posts and comments. I know that the investigating officer was also trying to access the video, but when I last spoke with her (in May) had not done so. Boetie’s appearance in court on 18 May, was a remand hearing and he is required to appear again in the future. I am unsure whether this is because the court system is overloaded or whether, to quote the investigating officer, they want to get the video in order to present a strong case against Boetie. The fact is that in a free society the cardinal principle is that you are innocent until proven guilty. What we have here is a group of suburbanites claiming that Boetie is guilty and therefore a criminal. One of them, Mr Commaille, says that he has had sight of the evidence, namely video footage. Asked to make that evidence public, he has opted to remain silent.

      Reply

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