Data expert reveals more info in Senzo Meyiwa murder trial

The Senzo Meyiwa murder trial faced a delay at the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday, following the defence’s request for additional time to review extensive new evidence.

The evidence, comprising over 100 pages of data primarily related to the cellphone of accused number two Bongani Ntanzi. This had necessitated a thorough examination by both the state and defence teams.

Defence advocate Charles Mnisi insisted on receiving the evidence in hard copy, as it was initially provided in digital format. Mnisi emphasised the importance of this request, stating, “This is not about us but the accused.”

Consequently, the court adjourned for two hours to facilitate the preparation of the required hard copies.

Police data expert testified

After lunch on Wednesday, the proceedings resumed. Police data expert Gideon Gouws was back on the stand to clarify the cellphone evidence.

State advocate George Baloyi presented the data about the cellphone confiscated from Ntanzi on February 8, 2021. The state contends that this phone was in Ntanzi’s possession until its confiscation. This despite Ntanzi’s claim that police seized it at the time of his arrest on June 16, 2020.

The cellphone data revealed a series of SMS messages received by Ntanzi’s phone at various locations. These include the Impala Platinum area, Freedom Park Tower, and Pretoria North Tower. All the day of his arrest and the following days.

Notably, the court heard that the phone showed no signal from June 17, 2020, to June 26, 2020. This suggested that the phone was offline during this period. Further analysis indicated that the phone received multiple SMS messages and calls while pinging off towers in different areas. These towers included the Queenswood area near the Villieria Police Station, where Ntanzi was incarcerated.

Phone data contradicted accused’s claims

Baloyi argued that the phone’s activity indicated it was with Ntanzi until February 2021, contrary to his claim. Gouws confirmed that the phone remained in the Queenswood area for an extended period. This period included on January 4, 2021, when certain images on the phone were accessed and modified.

During the cross-examination by Thulani Mngomezulu, representing accused number one, the relevance of the cellphone data was questioned. Mngomezulu pointed out that the phone associated with accused number three, Mthobisi Mncube, was not in Vosloorus. This is the crime scene where Meyiwa was shot and killed, from October 26 to October 27, 2014.

Gouws confirmed this, acknowledging that the data did not place Mncube at the scene during that period.

The trial will continue on Thursday.

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