Application in road rage trial for police diary a fishing expedition – magistrate

The scene where Dean Charnley died after being shot allegedly by pensioner Anthony Ball whose trial for the murder resumes in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court next week. Facebook

The scene where Dean Charnley died after being shot allegedly by pensioner Anthony Ball whose trial for the murder resumes in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court next week. Facebook

Published Feb 20, 2024


Durban — The family of a man who was shot and killed in an alleged road rage incident have welcomed the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court decision to dismiss the application by the defence for access to an investigation diary in the docket.

Anthony Ball is charged with the murder of Dean Charnley who was shot and killed in 2022 on the Everton Road turn-off from the M13 in Kloof.

The trial took a back seat while the application was heard.

“I’m relieved by the court’s decision to deny the defence’s application for the police diary. This ruling strengthens the case against the murder accused and reinforces our pursuit of justice for my late husband. We trust in the legal process and remain committed to seeing the perpetrator held accountable for their actions,” said Robyn Charnley, the wife of the murdered man after the ruling on Monday.

During the application last year, the court heard that Ball wanted to get this diary to illustrate certain abuse of process, highlight certain inadequacies in the investigation, and facilitate a fair trial to demonstrate his innocence.

Ball’s defence counsel, advocate Gideon Scheltema SC, argued that no blood alcohol samples were taken from the deceased and no primer residue test was done in the investigation.

His defence pointed out there was a danger posed by witness collusion.

The State argued a pre-trial conference was held where Ball’s defence indicated he was ready for trial; his intention to raise self-defence; and admissions placing in dispute the post-mortem report.

State advocate K Singh argued that the diary contained communication between police and the prosecutor, adding that it was protected by litigation privilege.

The State said after the pretrial the accused did not raise any issues of any interlocutory application that could have taken place at the time.

Dean Charnley. Picture: Facebook

On Monday, in his ruling magistrate M A Khumalo said the court aligned itself with the State and that there was no dispute of facts in this case.

“The issue of whether there was a need for a blood alcohol test and primer residue test is not relevant to determine the guilt of the accused. He had pleaded and placed his defence in the case, he has not denied he shot the accused. As to how the blood alcohol content of any people involved would help is not understood,” he said.

Khumalo said a case has been made by the State but Ball’s defence had not made a case as to why he could not forge ahead with his defence with the evidence available to him.

The trial had proceeded on the premise that Ball was ready for it.

“To call for this information (the diary) suggests a fishing expedition looking for anything that can help him. It would not be proper to grant access, the application is utterly hopeless and can’t be sustained.

“It is the primary constitutional responsibility of the court to ensure proceedings before it is fair; this has always been the South African law and it is constitutionally enshrined. As a result, the application is dismissed and there shall be no order as to costs.”

In his not-guilty plea, Ball’s version is that he was on the way home, and while on the M13 Charnley tailgated him.

On Everton Road, Charnley stopped his Nissan in front of Ball’s Subaru and got out, he said.

Charnley allegedly came towards him shouting and hitting the roof of his car violently with his hand.

A warning shot was fired out of the Subaru’s open window by Ball before Charnley reached him.

Ball alleges that Charnley, through the window, grabbed him and partially opened the door grabbing the gun which he still held on to. The second fatal shot had gone off inadvertently during a scuffle.

The trial is set to continue next week and has been set down for two days.

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