PRETORIA – Zimbabwean robbery accused Bongani Moyo yesterday told a South African magistrates court he escaped from custody because a policeman had threatened to kill him.
I am not guilty, he said. The policeman said he was going to kill me that day if I did not go out with him to point out some people. When he had gone back into the courtroom, I stood up and left.
Moyo told the court he was scared the policeman was going to carry out the threat.
I did not know the people he wanted me to show him and I didnt know what to do.
My co-accused (in the string of robbery charges) even told me that I was going to be killed. The policeman had told them earlier, Moyo said.
The matter was postponed to February 3. On Tuesday, the trial was adjourned earlier to allow Moyo time to read documents from proceedings of a court appearance he made on August 10 last year on charges of robbery.
That was the day he escaped by walking out of the court on crutches.
Moyo was told by the court he could use some of the information contained therein as part of his defence, if he wished.
After the break, he said he had read the documents, but had not understood them, prompting the court to adjourn again.
Moyo was handed the papers in court because at that time he had no legal representative.
In September 2011, he told the court he would conduct his own defence against the charge of escaping from lawful custody. He also declined to apply for bail.
A Legal Aid Board lawyer was then appointed to represent Moyo on Tuesday.
The soft-spoken Moyo, in leg irons and handcuffs, was escorted by several members of the police tactical response team.
His newly-appointed lawyer told the court Moyo wanted the court to instruct prison officials to have the leg irons removed as he had been sleeping with the shackles on for the past four months.
Magistrate Len Miller said the lawyer would have to submit an application to the High Court for such an order to be made.
In November last year, the escape trial was postponed as Moyo said he had a toothache and could not participate in proceedings.
The August 10 flight from the Pretoria court was not the Zimbabweans first attempt.
In March 2011 Moyo had escaped from Boksburg Prison, where he was detained for alleged involvement in bank robberies.
He was recaptured at the Beitbridge border post almost three months later when he re-entered South African from Zimbabwe. At the time police described him as dangerous.
In a separate matter in the same court, Moyo is charged, together with Leon Ncube, Khumbulani Sibanda, and Thabani Sibanda, with several counts of armed robbery. All four would remain in custody until their next appearance on February 27.