The case against the suspects arrested in connection with the bloody Jeppestown shootout with police earlier this year could be jeopardised by the manger in which their identity parade was held recently.
The 16 accused are in police custody following the massacre, which claimed the lives of four police officers and eight suspects at a deserted Jeppestown house on June 25.
The robbers allegedly fled to the house after an armed robbery at a West Rand Pick ‘n Pay earlier in the day.
Owner of the Honey Junction Pick ‘n Pay Jimmy Yanioglou told The Citizen
four of his employees were afraid for their lives after being asked to take part in the identity parade last Tuesday.
Yanioglou said after his employees’ names were read out aloud by police they were asked to walk around and identify the suspects they recognised by touching them on their shoulders.
He also expressed concern over the fact that the parade was only held more than two months after the robbery took place.
“The workers are absolutely traumatised. They did recognise some of the suspects but refused to identify them out of fear for their lives".
“The suspects now know his employees’ names and where they work.”
The Institute of Security Studies’ John Burger said although this was common practice during ID parades it could jeopardise the case against the suspects.
“A case can stand or fall based on its witnesses. If they feel threatened and intimidated during the suspects’ identity parades it could easily harm the case or become a problem.”
Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini confirmed the parade was held last week but remained tight-lipped on the proceedings.
“We cannot respond to the parade as it now forms part of the evidence to be presented in court.”
The seven accused applying for bail are expected to reappear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on September 13.
The case against the remaining nine suspects was postponed to October 16.
All are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and the possession of unlicensed firearms.
By Francois du Plessis The Citizen 05/09/06/06