Two men accused of being part of a gang of robbers were mistakenly released after a miscommunication in the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) office.
The Saturday Star reported that a prosecutor misunderstood an instruction from a control prosecutor that led her to withdraw charges against Solly Mahlahlo and Morekgomo Stanley Phaahla.
The case was scheduled to be heard in the Pretoria North Regional Court.
Police spokesman Captain Jan Sepato told the paper they would have to issue Mahlahlo and Phaahla with a summons to appear in court as they did not escape from custody, but were released by officials.
The three witnesses in the case, Fanie Venter, Tiaan Strydom and Jeandre Visagie told the newspaper they feared for their lives as the men, who they positively identified in May 2011, could come after them.
NPA spokesman Medupe Simasuku told the Saturday Star that the error was an honest mistake that did not warrant disciplinary action.
“The instruction was given to the prosecutor in Afrikaans which is not her home language,” Simasuku was quoted as saying.
The two were allegedly part of a gang that attacked the witnesses and robbed them in Montana, Pretoria, in 2011.
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