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Malema’s defence objects to admissibility of video evidence in gun case

EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan Snyman inside the East London Magistrate's Court.

EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan Snyman inside the East London Magistrate’s Court.

  • The gun case of EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, resumed in the East London Magistrate‘s Court on Monday.
  • The EFF leader faces charges of the illegal possession of firearms, contravention of the Firearms Control Act, the illegal possession of ammunition and reckless endangerment to persons or property.
  • Malema stands accused of firing a rifle at the EFF’s fifth anniversary celebrations at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane in 2018.

The authenticity of video footage at the centre of the State’s case against EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard, Adriaan Snyman, has been called into question by the defence. 

Malema and Snyman were charged for the contravention of the Firearms Control Act after the video emerged showing the EFF leader firing an automatic rifle at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in East London during the party’s fifth birthday celebration in 2018.

Malema then handed the rifle to Snyman. 

The duo appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court for the continuation of the trial which was postponed in September last year due to the unavailability of Malema’s senior counsel, advocate Laurence Hordes. 

There was a slight delay caused by the load shedding, which ended at 09:00, but the presiding magistrate, Twanet Olivier, said it took more time for the server to be switched on.

Prosecutor advocate Joel Ceaser intended to play the video before court and then called two State’s witnesses whose evidence centred around the video.

READ | EFF cuts ties with IFP over power sharing in coalition municipalities

But Hordes and the senior counsel for Snyman, advocate Shane Matthews, both objected to the admissibility of the video as evidence.

They argued the State has not called the cameraperson, who captured the video footage, to testify, thus placing its authenticity into question.

Both defence counsels agreed the case could be dealt with through a trial-within-a-trial. 

EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan

EFF leader Julius Malema and his bodyguard Adriaan Snyman inside the East London Magistrate’s Court.

News24 Johnnie Isaac

“There is no cameraman who has come and testified to court, that I took this video. There are various versions in social media concerning the incident.

“The State has an obligation to prove that a document or, in this instance, the video footage is authentic before it is used as evidence before your Lordship,” Hordes argued.

Matthews said the person who captured the video should have been brought to testify and authenticate whether the video was indeed captured at the stadium, or whether it was tampered with after being captured.

He added during the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal, a video was captured three years prior which purported to show the floods. 

The State opposed the idea of a trial-within-a-trial, with Ceaser instead arguing for the admission of the video as is.

He said the State would call two more witnesses whose testimony was based on the video. 

Olivier adjourned the case while considering whether to grant the trial-within-a-trial.

It will resume at 12:30 on Tuesday due to scheduled load shedding.   

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