Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Charges against one suspect in Joslin Smith case withdrawn, as case sees a 2-month delay

Charges against one of the four people linked to the disappearance of 6-year-old Joshlin Smith from Saldahna Bay have been withdrawn.

The suspects - Joshlin’s mother, Racquel Chantel Smith also known as Kelly; her boyfriend, Jacquen Rowhan Appollis; and two others Steveno Dumaizio van Rhyn, and Phumza Sigaqa - appeared in the Vredenburg Magistrates Court on Wednesday. They face charges of human trafficking and kidnapping. This is the second court appearance after the foursome first appeared on the 7th of March 2024. The case was postponed last week for bail application

COURTESY: SAPS


The Grade 1 learner went missing from her home in Diazvile, Saldhana Bay, after her mother reported her missing on 19 February, after she went missing the previous day. According to police, Joshlin was left at home with the mother’s boyfriend to look after her as she was not feeling well. Later the afternoon, when the mother returned from work, her daughter was not home.

Court proceedings, was suppose to start at 10a.m on Wednesday, but were delayed by almost an hour, as it awaited the suspects who was being transported from Pollsmoor prison.

Tensions ran high from community members, outside the court. Razor wire, police with shields and armoured police trucks marked the second appearance of the four suspects. Police also fired stun-grenade as angry West Coast residents who were prevented from entering the court premises, in return, hurled stones at police.

COURTESY: SAPS


Western Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile says police are probing a case of public violence investigation.

‘’If you can recall with the first appearance, it was uncontrollable, now when we extend the scene, so we use a bob wire especially when we anticipate violence, It was a wise move. If it was not and looking what has happened, we prevented the unprecedented. Yes, by nature, people do not want to be restricted, but by law, we have a duty to prevent any crime that can be committed. I have directed that we must study videos of those public violence, so action can be taken.

‘’We are now looking at the size of the court – it is small. We understand the anger of the citizens. We will speak to the NPA on whether there is no other way the appearance is still done, but in a coordinated way. We have not arrested anyone. When the crowd is like that, we cannot arrest anyone. We investigate to arrest,’’ added Patekile.

Meanwhile, Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen says a 29-year-old female police officer was injured during the tense standoff and was taken to hospital. 

Inside court, and the accused face charges of human trafficking and kidnapping. This is the second court appearance after the foursome first appeared on the 7th of March 2024. The case was postponed last week for bail application. The court heard that all accused have abandoned their bail application, with the third accused’s case, Phumza Sigaqa, be withdrawn.

The State then asked the Court for the matter to be postponed for further investigations

“Several information has been received as to the whereabouts of the child in question - those are being followed up. We are also awaiting data analysis, further witness statements to be obtained so investigations are at a very early stage and ongoing,” the state prosecutor said.

With Sigaqa charges being withdrawn, it means that only three suspects are now implicated in the disappearance of Joshlin Smith. Sigaqa was initially arrested after one of the other accused alleged she had “bought” Joshlin Smith for R20 000, an accusation she vehemently denied.

Addressing media, after the court proceedings, Western Cape Police Commissioner, Thembisile Patekile, was mum on whether blood stained clothing found on an open field near Joshlin’s residence, was that of the missing girl

‘’We are doing investigations. We are not at liberty to say what the results are, as the investigations continues.’’

Western Cape’s Police Oversight Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, says it has noted the court’s decision

‘’As the Western Cape Government, we take note that the charges against accused number 4 has been withdrawn, however that could change, should new information come to light. We further noted that bail has been abandoned. Our focus remains that Joshlin is returned home unharmed and reunited with family and the matter to be concluded.

‘’We also note the time period – We know justice can be seen as a cumbersome process, delays after delays, but we will monitor this particular case.

COURTESY: SAPS


Whilst the case has been postponed to 13 May, the search for missing 6-year-old Joshlin Smith, continues.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla & Mitchum George

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