Ntuthuko Shoba’s bid to be discharged from prosecution on grounds of an “inconclusive” State case failed yesterday, forcing him to take the dock to prove his innocence.
Pule’s body was found hanging from a tree in a secluded area in Roodepoort. Muzikayise Malephane confessed to fatally shooting and hanging her.
Malephane, who was sentenced to 20 years for the crime, testified that he acted on Shoba’s orders. He said Shoba told him he wanted Pule dead because she refused to abort the baby.
Yesterday’s proceedings kicked off with a discharge application by Shoba’s lawyer, advocate Norman Makhubela.
Makhubela said the evidence centred on cellphone data records was not conclusive to secure his client’s conviction. Part of the cellphone evidence was that Shoba called Malephane several times ahead of Pule’s brutal murder.
Shoba denied ownership of the number that called Malephane’s cellphone. Makhubela said the State relied on Malephane’s evidence, whom he previously described as a self-confessed liar and murderer.
Malephane admitted to peppering his first statement to police with lies, in addition to confessing that he killed Pule. Makhubela said Malephane cannot be ruled to be a credible witness.
Prosecutor Faghre Mohamed opposed the discharge application, saying Shoba misled police during the early stages of their probe by claiming not to know Malephane. “He knew who this person was all along. He knew that he hired this individual.” It emerged during the trial that Shoba and Malephane were acquaintances.
Acting Judge Stuart Wilson dismissed the discharge application. He said the court might still find Shoba guilty as charged.
His ruling forced Shoba to take the box. He reiterated earlier in his testimony that he made contact with Malephane to buy cigarettes, as he sold them during their banning in 2020.
Shoba detailed some of his relationship with Pule. He said they were not in a serious relationship, but an “illicit affair”, as Pule knew about the woman he intended to marry, but they looked forward to the birth of their baby.
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