Rapper Pitch Black Afro should have known that his actions would have led to his wife’s death when he allegedly hit her head against a wall, a court has heard.
The state wants the High Court in Johannesburg to convict the rapper, whose real name is Thulani Ngcobo, on the principle of dolus eventualis, a legal principle which states that an accused should have foreseen their actions could reasonably lead to someone’s death – even if it wasn’t their intention to kill.
Ngcobo is on trial for allegedly killing his wife, Catherine Modisane, two years ago at a bed and breakfast in Johannesburg. He is facing a count of murder and another of defeating the ends of justice. Modisane’s body was only found a day after the incident.
Prosecutor Matshiliso Moleko said the state was relying on circumstantial evidence that Ngcobo assaulted Modisane because they were together in the room at the time.
“The deceased was found dead on 31 December, 2018 and the cause of death was blunt trauma, which could have been caused by the accused hitting his wife’s head against the wall.
“It was confirmed by the accused that he pushed her and she hit her head against the wall. His confession was provisionally admitted, and it should now be admitted as evidence,” said Moleko.
Moleko said the magistrate who took Ngcobo’s confession could not have known about the details of the incident if not from the accused.
“Premeditation doesn’t have to take a long time,” she said, adding that a witness said that a barefoot Modisane was seen crying, but did not want to discuss what had happened between her and Ngcobo.
She walked back into the lodge, where she was staying with the accused.
“The couple were preparing for a trip the following day. If we look at the injuries she sustained, they could not have happened in a snap of a moment.
“There were other wounds on her hands, thighs and legs,” Moleko said.
Moleko asked acting Judge J du Plessis to find that Ngcobo assaulted his wife for a period of time.
“I will rule out the element of negligence. The accused, in the manner he assaulted Modisane, could have seen that the injuries were severe.
“Although he could not have had the intention to kill, he had the intention of dolus eventualis.
“The fact that there was intoxication doesn’t play a big role. He is an intelligent person and should have foreseen his actions,” said Moleko.
She said the police officer who testified said he had found Ngcobo packing clothes in a bag and there was a bloodstained pair of shoes.
“Ngcobo never told them about the items – and a towel lying between a bed and the wall were only found days later with bloodstains. I am drawing an inference that it was human blood,” Moleko said.
Du Plessis said he would accept that Ngcobo and Modisane had been intoxicated. “Even if I find that he is a poor witness and lied, that doesn’t make him guilty of murder. If I look at the facts, the only version we have is what happened inside the room.
“My great concern is the last action that happened was when he pushed her, and she hit the head against the wall.
“That push might have been quite severe. He said, after that, Modisane was quiet and could not argue with him.
“The towel was never taken for testing at a laboratory and I don’t know if it was blood, and whose blood it was,” Du Plessis said.
The matter was postponed to Thursday.