It was a gruelling day of cross-examination in the Miguel Louw murder trial as the defence team for accused Mohamed Ebrahim laid into a witness.
The witness, a minor who cannot be identified by order of the court, is the first to take the stand in the much-anticipated trial which began on Tuesday.
During cross-examination in the Durban High Court on Wednesday, seasoned defence lawyer Jay Naidoo, who has represented the likes of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, directed his attention to alleged discrepancies in the statement the witness handed to the police.
Naidoo said there were differing version of events in the official statement compared to the witness testimony in court.
The case, which came to trial about a year after Miguel went missing, sparked national outrage after Ebrahim – a close acquaintance and co-worker of his mother, Raylene – was implicated in the kidnapping and murder of the Rippon Primary School pupil on July 17, 2018.
On Tuesday, the witness placed Ebrahim outside Miguel’s school on the day in question, saying the accused offered another youngster R10 to call Miguel outside the school premises.
However, Naidoo disputed this statement using timelines to rubbish the testimony. He went so far as to accuse the witness of fabricating his entire story.
“You never told the police others went to look for Miguel, because that never happened. All of this is lies because the accused was never there. He never came to the school.”
Replying, the witness said: “It is the truth. It did happen.”
Naidoo pressed on saying the timelines did not correlate.
“The reason this never happened is because the camera footage at the KFC near the school shows the accused with Miguel at 14:04. He was at the KFC just a few minutes after school was finished. You said he was around you by 14:20 or so.”
Naidoo also pushed to ascertain if the witness had interacted with the Louw family.
“Did no one tell you what to say here today? Have there not been any conversations between you and Miguel’s mother.”
Tersely, the witness replied: “No.”
The case will continue on Thursday when a lip reading expert is expected to take the stand and decipher the conversation between Miguel and Ebrahim at the KFC, the last time the boy was seen alive.