Steve Biko – THE INQUEST (Part III – THE OFFICER’S INVOLVED)

Symonds, there is a description of someone who has sustained a brain injury. After a period of unconsciousness he would be ‘unaware of his environment and be inaccessible . . . He is at first mute, unresponsive to com­mands and inert . . . Later he begins to be restless and while still mute and stuperous may become restive and violent’.

Napley also remarks that Biko’s so-called violence was not the reaction of a normal man. ‘What was he to gain by it? No one suggested anything. If it was unrestrained anger no evidence suggested that his temperament normally manifested that trait’.

The five men involved in the scuffle were brought into court. They were all big, well-developed and strong men. The whole idea that they had difficulty in controlling Biko seemed absurd.

Why, then, is there no acceptable account of some accidental knock on Biko’s forehead? They could have said he fell, knocking his head against a table. Why the difficulty in concocting some evidence of this kind?

In fact, as emerged in evidence that was given later by the medical experts, there were vital pieces of medical evidence that the police could not have known the experts would be able to establish with such certainty. These concerned the nature of the injury, the timing of it, and what would have happened immediately after it was inflicted, and show clearly that the probable time Biko was red was early on the morning of 7 September, while he was in the custody of either Wilken’s night squad or Snyman’s day squad.

There was in court a concerted attempt by all witnesses to deflect attention away from Wilken’s team, by presenting them not as interrogators but simply as those who guarded Biko while he slept. Yet it is most improbable that Wilken’s team did not question Biko during the night. That is doubtless what they were there for—and why else the curious account of how, at one point in the night, Biko asked for 15 minutes, apparently in order to give a statement, and, after that interval, according to Wilken, appeared to be asleep. This could be a garbled account of the undeniable period of unconsciousness.

From the evidence presented the fatal blows could have taken place either just before or just after Snyman’s team took over from the night interrogators. At first sight Snyman’s team appears the most likely to have assaulted Biko, if only because under questioning, its members recalled a ‘scuffle’ in which Biko might have been injured—though none witnessed it happening. The ‘scuffle’ however, may have taken place when Biko recovered consciousness, and jerked about uncontrollably. His ‘wild behaviour’ would thus have been the result of blows received somewhat earlier, in Wilken’s custody. Sir David Napley cer­tainly found Wilken the most ‘vicious and terrifying’ of all the police witnesses:

Lt. Wilken, on entering the court, presented an air of amiability to all concerned, and spent some time smiling. At one point, when his face was turned from the Magistrate and he became put out by a reference by Mr. Kentridge to his having played the part of a night nurse, he revealed, when taken off his guard, a picture, to which his eyes gave testimony, of underlying anger and a degree of viciousness which I personally found to be terrifying. It is possible, therefore, that the fatal blows were struck by Wilken and his team, leaving Snyman to cope with the results and to call in his superior, Goosen, when their gravity became apparent. Apart from obtaining the certifi­cate from Dr. Lang, however, nothing more was done until the following day.

On the morning of 8th, Biko’s condition must have caused some anxiety because Goosen ordered another medical examination.

Witness: Colonel Goosen

Goosen I told Dr. Tucker and Dr. Lang of my suspicions because Biko had not taken food or liquid. We had here a man who would not eat, react or talk and who used no toilet facilities. I still thought he was shamming. I had had experience before with this tendency.

Kentridge Do you think it shamming if a man does not go to a toilet for three days?

Goosen I knew there had been a violent struggle but did not know for certain what injuries could have been incurred.

Kentridge Why did you not mention this to the doctors? You told the doctors you were worried about a stroke but never that you were worried about a head injury. My submission will be that you knew Biko might have suffered a head injury but wanted to draw the doctors’ attention away from it.

Goosen That is not so.

Kentridge When the doctors arrived Biko was still shackled hand and foot. After they had left he was again shackled. In terms of a standing order it had to be noted in an occurrence book if a prisoner was put under restraint in this way?

Goosen Security police officers do not keep occurrence books.

Kentridge I don’t understand your answer. Are you saying you are above standing orders in the Security Branch?

Goosen Standing orders are guidelines.

Kentridge To be obeyed or not as you might see fit?

Goosen My security officers have no occurrence book and I have never had an order to keep one.

Kentridge From the time of the morning of the 7th, excluding the time of interrogation and the examination by the doctors, Biko remained in chains. What right did you have to keep a man in chains for 48 hours?

Goosen I have the full power to do it. Prisoners could attempt suicide or escape.

Kentridge Let’s have an honest answer—where did you get your powers?

Goosen It is my power.

Kentridge Are you people above the law?

Goosen I have full powers to ensure a man’s safety.

Kentridge I am asking for the statute.

Goosen We don’t work under statutes.

Kentridge Thank you very much. That is what we have always suspected.

Goosen said he had not meant he was above the statutes, but that he was using his own sound judgement.

Kentridge The standing order makes provision that when a person is kept under this sort of restraint an entry has to be made in an occurrence book, and there is no room for discretion?

Goosen At a normal police station there would be no discretion.

Kentridge It doesn’t apply to you?

Goosen Where there is no occurrence book it would be left to my discretion.

Kentridge Why did you not go to a police station where there is an occur­rence book?

Goosen Then I would have to do it every time.

Kentridge Yes, quite right—every time you put a man in chains.

Goosen I would have been running backwards and forwards to the police station all the time.

Kentridge I want to know what sort of man you are. Would you keep a dog chained in this way for 48 hours?

Goosen If a dog is an absolute danger I would probably do it. Here in this case this was the position.

Kentridge He was so dangerous that he had to lie on his mat in chains for 48 hours?

Goosen I had to protect him.

Kentridge You certainly succeeded. He never got out of your hands … he was let out to die.

Goosen He was not. Everything possible was done to keep him alive.

Doctors Lang and Tucker suggested that Biko should be examined by a specialist physician, and for this purpose he was transferred to a prison hospital where there would be ‘better facilities for a proper examination’. The transfer took place after dark on the evening of the 8th.

Witness: Colonel Goosen

Kentridge Col. Bothma said that you gave instructions that only white members of the police force should guard Biko. Did you not trust the black members of the force?

Goosen This was one of my standing instructions in all these cases of detention. Black policemen were not always available. The prison hospital was manned by whites and this order had been given to prevent any messages being passed.

Kentridge Doesn’t this and the fact that Biko was taken to the prison only after dark seem as if you didn’t want anybody to know that Biko suffered from an ailment?

Goosen Quarters used for awaiting trial prisoners had to be cleared for Biko. I had to consult with Col. Bothma and I was told that the doctor could see Biko only late that night.

Witness: Warrant Officer Jacobus Beneke

Kentridge That evening you helped to take Biko to the prison hospital? Beneke Correct.

Kentridge How did you help to put him to bed?

Beneke I just stood by and drew the blankets away from him. Biko was dressed when he was taken to hospital. He was wearing the trousers he had been wearing all the time while in custody.

Kentridge What was the state of these trousers?

Beneke There was nothing wrong.

Kentridge What was the state of his mat and blankets?

Beneke The mats were just as they had been. The blankets were a bit disarranged.

Kentridge The doctors found that he had urinated while in that bed?

Beneke Every time I went in he was under the blankets.

Kentridge His trousers and blankets were never changed?

Beneke No.

Sydenham Prison Hospital, Port Elizabeth—9 September

According to evidence given by a policeman, he found Biko out of his hospital bed twice during the night and morning of 8/9 September. The first time was 3 a.m., when he found Biko sitting in a bath of water with his clothes on. A few hours later he was again found in the bath, but the second time it was empty.

Witness: Warder J. Fitchet (detailed to guard Biko on the day of 9 September).

Cross-examined by E. Wentzel, acting with Kentridge for the Biko family.

Fitchet On 9 September Biko stated he wanted to exercise, got out of the bed and walked around his cell for about 20 minutes. He walked without any aid and without holding on to anything. He did not appear unsteady on his feet. He kept his head down with his eyes fastened to the ground. After about 20 minutes he said he was tired and sat on his bed.

Wentzel I am told that in the light of his medical condition it is inconceiv­able that on 9 September he could have walked round in the manner you describe. What would you say about that?

Fitchet held on to the microphone in the dock and remained silent. Wentzel You won’t get inspiration from the microphone.

Fitchet I cannot answer that question.

Some time later, Fitchet added he had been asked by Gen. Kleinhaus, police investigator, to fill out a duplicated statement in connection with Biko’s detention. The person filling it in had to cross out incorrect statements and add further comments if he felt it necessary.

Wentzel A large number of affidavits in this form have been sworn to as evidence in this inquest. In this form you were asked to cross out what did not apply and to leave in what did apply. You have crossed out the following words:

‘Besides what I already said in my statement(s) I noticed no injuries of any kind on Steven Biko’.

Fitchet also crossed out the statement: ‘I noticed the following injury(s) on Steve Biko during my visit to him’.

The following statement remains standing in the roneoed form: ‘I noticed no injury of any kind on Steven Biko’. Fitchet added the words … ‘except handcuff marks on both wrists’.

The other statement left standing on the form was the following: ‘I was shown a mark on a photo taken during a post-mortem on Steve Biko. I have not noticed such a mark or injury on Steven Biko’.

Wentzel Did Gen. Kleinhaus give you instructions whether to cross out what didn’t apply while you were alone, or with other warders?

Fitchet He gave us no instructions.

Wentzel Did he give you an explanation that you were to do the roneoed forms when you were alone, or when your colleagues were with you?

Fitchet I am not sure.

Wentzel It is less than a month ago. Do you have a particularly bad memory?

Fitchet Yes.

Witness: Colonel Goosen

Kentridge In your statement you deal at length with the fact that Biko was found on the morning of 9 September in a bath and later on the floor next to the bed. You put forward, as a probability at least, a theory that that is why he suffered his brain injury. Why didn’t you put forward, as a possibility, your theory that it might have happened in the course of the struggle on the morning of the 7th?

Goosen He was found in the bath full of water. I thought there might have been an attempt at suicide.

Kentridge There is two possibilities. Why did you only mention one? I’m going to tell you why. It is because you were putting up a theory which took it as far as possible away from your own men.

A lumbar puncture was performed on Biko on the morning of the 9th. Biko remained in the prison hospital that day and night (there is no evidence of his condition.)

On 10 September, the specialist. Dr. Hersch, informed Dr. Lang (who first visited Biko on the 7th) that the lumbar puncture showed the cerebro-spinal fluid to be blood-stained. A neuro-surgeon. Dr. Keeley, was consulted by phone, but did not object to Biko being transferred back to the security police.

On the morning of the 11th, Biko was taken back to a mat at the Walmer Police Station.

No explanation was given as to how Biko, who the police had stated had to be manacled and chained for fear he might try to escape, was left apparently un­guarded in the prison hospital, and was able to fill a bath with water and climb into it before being discovered.

It could be that the two incidents actually took place (but as with other police evidence, there is no reason to assume this to be true) in which case it would have been symptomatic of the disorientation arising out of the brain damage. Or it could have been an invention to try and explain how Biko sustained his brain damage.

Walmer Jail —11 September

Early on Sunday 11 September Biko was transferred from the prison hospital (where he had apparently received no treatment of any kind, apart from the lumbar puncture for the purposes of diagnosis) and was taken back to a cell at Walmer Police Station. There he was in the charge of Sgt. van Vuuren, who had been in charge of him during his detention prior to his being taken to Sanlam Buildings.

Witness: Sergeant Paul Janse van Vuuren

On 11 September he saw that Biko had been returned. That evening he visited Cell No. 5, where Biko was kept. To get into the cell one had to go through four locked doors.

Biko seemed to be asleep on his mats. Later he found him on the cement floor with his head towards the cell bars and his feet near the mats. He could not say if Biko had fallen or crawled to that position. Biko was found lying on his right side looking at the door. There was froth on his mouth and his eyes were glazed.

He tried to give Biko water, but he stayed in the same position. He took hold of Biko under his arms from behind (‘like a lifesaver’ commented

Magistrate Prins), dragged him onto the mats, covered him with blankets and called the Security Police. He saw no injuries on Biko, in particular not the bruise on Mr. Biko’s forehead appearing in the photograph shown to him. At 6.20 p.m. on 11 September he booked Biko out of the Walmer Police

Station. He did not know where he was taken.

Witness: Colonel Goosen

About 2 p.m. on 11 September he was phoned by Maj. Fischer and visited Biko in his cell.

Biko was lying on his mat and his breathing was somewhat irregular. A little foam was on his lips. He immediately phoned Dr. Tucker.

At 3.20 Dr. Tucker examined Biko. Both doctors expressed concern because the nature of any possible upset could not be diagnosed. It was agreed to transfer Biko to an institution with all possible facilities.

He phoned Brigadier Zietsman of the Security Police headquarters in Pretoria. He received instructions to transfer Biko to the Central Prison in Pretoria. If no military plane was available, road transport was to be used if the senior district surgeon had no objections.

No planes were available and Dr. Tucker had no objections to road transport to Pretoria for Biko if he was provided with a mattress or something soft to lie on.

He to see to the comforts and health of Biko while he was in detention did everything possible.

Goosen ordered that Biko should be sent to Pretoria because they had the facilities for a proper examination there.

Kentridge What was wrong with Port Elizabeth? There are very good hospitals in Port Elizabeth.

Goosen I still thought he was feigning. I thought it was possible that he could be assisted to escape and leave the country. I have often had prisoners under guard in hospitals who succeeded in escaping.

Kentridge Wasn’t the real reason that you did not want anybody to see Biko in that condition? You did not think he would die and until he recovered you wanted to keep him out of sight.

Goosen I had no reason to hide him. Neither I nor any of my colleagues nor the doctors saw any external injuries. When I could not get a military plane I asked Dr. Tucker if I could convey Biko by road. Dr. Tucker said that provided they allowed Biko to lie on a soft mattress there was no reason why not.

Kentridge What facilities was Biko to have?

Goosen A relatively luxurious Land-Rover was used. Seats were removed to put the mattress on the floor.

Kentridge We understand that the only facility available was a container of water?

Goosen We still thought he was shamming. The doctors did not prescribe anything.

Kentridge The prison regulations say that in cases of death, serious illness and injury, the prison department has to notify the next of kin of the prisoner. Biko’s illness had been serious enough to warrant examination by a specialist and to send him 700 miles to a hospital in Pretoria. Why didn’t you notify his next of kin?

Goosen After the doctors had examined him it was their opinion that there was nothing physically wrong. I had no reason to inform his family. I had reason to believe he was shamming. Biko was sent to Pretoria for diagnosis.

Kentridge You thought there was nothing wrong, yet on the Sunday night you tried to get a military plane to take this malingerer to Pretoria’ Goosen This shows the attention we gave him. Even when a prisoner has only a headache he gets a doctor. I tried to get Mr. Biko to Pretoria as soon as possible.

Kentridge Do you know that Dr. Hersch took a lumbar puncture and that the finding was positive? Red blood cells were found in the spinal fluid.

Goosen To my knowledge the three doctors said they could find nothing wrong.

Kentridge If all these doctors told you there was nothing wrong, why did you try to get a military plane?

Goosen This showed the care we took to avoid criticism.

Kentridge I put it to you that the dictates of common humanity and decency would have impelled you to inform the family unless you had something to hide.

Goosen The circumstances were special. We were trying to prove that Biko was somebody quite different from what he had seemed to be. Had we known he was ill the family would have been told.

The Ride to Pretoria—Night of 11 -12 September

The men who accompanied the now dying Biko on the night ride from Port Elizabeth were three members of the interrogation team, Capt. Siebert, Lieut. Wilken and W/0 Nieuwoudt.

Witness: Captain D. P. Siebert, Security Police, Port Elizabeth

Biko was taken naked to Pretoria. He thought that being naked might place a damper on any escape attempt. He was still not sure if Biko was shamming an illness or not.

Kentridge Did consideration of common humanity bear no weight with you?

Siebert Yes, I am humane.

Lieutenant Wilken and Warrant Officer Nieuwoudt travelled in the back of the Land-Rover with Biko.

Kentridge What medical equipment did they take with them in the back of the van?

Siebert They only had a container with water. Biko was covered with blankets.

They had left Port Elizabeth at 6.30 in the evening and had arrived in Pretoria the next morning. They stopped on the road to take in fuel at a couple of police stations, but Biko never left the van.

He had sat in the front of the vehicle and had inquired from time to time if Biko was sleeping. He was told that he was but sometimes when lights were shone into the vehicle at police stations he saw that Biko was awake.

Kentridge Was he breathing normally?

Siebert When we approached the vehicle to unload him and he saw us approaching he started breathing deeply.

When Biko was taken into the Pretoria prison his condition had not changed. He still thought Biko was shamming. He could not say that he was worried.

Kentridge Sergeant Pretorius, medical orderly at Pretoria, has given a statement that on the morning of his death Biko had looked seriously ill and he was afraid for his life. One of the security men had told him that Biko had studied medicine for four years, that he practised yoga and could mislead other people.

Siebert Biko had been examined by doctors in Port Elizabeth and they considered his condition to be such that he could be taken to Pretoria by car. I understood that to mean that the possibility that Biko was shamming was not excluded.

Kentridge I can understand people saying to doctors and others: ‘It is difficult to say what happened to him, we don’t know if he is shamming, but you had better know that he had had a bump on the head’. When Sgt. Pretorius said he thought the man was sick, all you gave was the theory of shamming.

Siebert I can’t even remember if I talked to Pretorius personally. One of my colleagues could have talked to him or he could have over­heard us.

Witness: Lieut. Winston Eric Wilken

On the trip to Pretoria, he travelled in the back of the Land Rover. Before the trip commenced he and Detective-Sergeant Nieuwoudt had tried to put on Biko’s clothes, but he had resisted. They had put him on a mat and carried him to the Land Rover.

They had no co-operation from him, but he had no reason to think Biko was sick. He was not a doctor and could not say whether the man was in a state of collapse.

Kentridge Did you notice that the man was in a state of semi-coma?

Wilken He did not give me that impression.

Prof. Gordon Why did you think a man was being taken 740 miles to Pretoria if he was just shaming?

Wilken I was told he was going to Pretoria for observation. I knew he was not going for specific treatment.

Kentridge Why was this a night journey?

Wilken I didn’t make the decision and I didn’t ask anybody. I never questioned the decision. He might have had to be in Pretoria early in the early morning.

Kentridge Wasn’t it very unusual to take a detainee to Pretoria in manner?

Wilken No.

Biko apparently slept most of the way. When they stopped for petrol he did not give Biko a chance to get out to stretch his legs. He was given an opportunity to relieve himself, but he did not want to do so. He could not remember when the offer was made to Biko.

Kentridge During the journey was Biko in any state to talk to you?

Wilken I can’t remember that he talked to us except to refuse water and other facilities. He was offered water but I cannot remember that he took any.

Kentridge Fit as a fiddle was he?

Wilken He was all right.

Kentridge I am suggesting that this cannot be true. You must have seen that you had a very ill man on your hands?

Wilken He was awake.

Kentridge Did you help to carry him into the Pretoria Prison?

Wilken I was present but did not carry him. I don’t know why he didn’t walk. He was offered a stretcher.

Kentridge But the telex* stated that he took water on two occasions.

Wilken I can remember that Sgt. Nieuwoudt offered him water on two occasions.

When they arrived in Pretoria Biko’s condition was the same, normal.

Kentridge He was normal, and now we are speaking of some 12 hours before his death?

Wilken That is correct.

Kentridge Do you remember one of your party saying to the other that Biko had studied medicine for four years, that he practised yoga and that he could deceive people easily?

Wilken It is quite possible that I had said it myself because at that stage I believed Biko was shamming. While we were in the Land Rover Biko would breathe normally, but when there were lights and people around he would breathe more deeply. His breathing at particular times only made it appear that he had been shamming.

Kentridge What right did you have to say this man could deceive people and was probably shamming?

Wilken It was an opinion.

Kentridge Why is it you security people insist on telling people all that he was shamming?

Wilken The case was that the doctors had said there was nothing wrong. We had to assume they were right.

Kentridge Is not the obvious reason that there was something you wanted to hide in connection with this man?

Wilken No, we had nothing to fear or hide.

Kentridge You are sent on an urgent journey to Pretoria on a Sunday night, to take a man to hospital. He had, according to you, refused food and water, nor taken any opportunity in the course of a 12 to 14-hour journey to relieve himself. He said, as far as we know, not a word during the journey. And then when you get to Pretoria you take it upon yourself to tell people in Pretoria that this is a person who can easily deceive others and you think he is shamming. Is that a reasonable summary of what happened?

Wilken It is one-sided if you don’t take in the background; but basically, yes, it’s correct.

Kentridge I suggest that it was not Biko that was shamming but members of the security police. I am going to suggest that this constant refrain was to draw attention away from what the security police had actually done.

Reply inaudible

Pretoria Prison —12 September

Some hours after arriving in Pretoria, Biko was examined by a local district surgeon, who told the Court he had been practising medicine for two years.

Witness: Dr. Andries Van Zyl, Pretoria District Surgeon

He had examined Biko at the Pretoria Prison Hospital at 3 p.m. on 12 Septem­ber.

Before 12 September, he had never been in the section where Biko was kept,

He had been told Biko had refused to ‘partake of anything’ for a week. Also a doctor and a physician who could not find ‘any fault’ with him had examined that Biko.

He received no record from Port Elizabeth in connection with the patient. After examining Biko he diagnosed general weakness and dehydration as a result of his having had ‘no food or liquid’ for seven days.

He prescribed a drip, and gave Biko a vitamin injection.

Kentridge Who gave you the history of Biko’s alleged refusal to eat or drink for seven days?

Van Zyl I learnt this in a telephone conversation with a Sgt. Pretorius at the Central Prison hospital. As far as I remember no one me Biko’s case was urgent.

Kentridge Did Mr. Biko seems seriously ill?

Van Zyl He was medically a sick, sick person … he was comatose. Kentridge Where did you hear that the Port Elizabeth doctors could find nothing wrong with Biko?

Van Zyl One of the warders told me that.

He added that he did not know who the warder was, and he was not introduced to him. He had not been told at any stage that doctors had found signs of neurological damage on Biko.

He had tried unsuccessfully to talk to Biko, but could get no reaction. He was with Biko 30 to 45 minutes, possibly longer.

Von Lieres Was the room in which Biko was kept equipped satisfactorily?

Van Zyl He had been taken to different wards, which looked like those in hospital. Biko was in a private room.

Kentridge On these photographs of the room, it looks as though the patient was lying on a mat on the floor, and not on a bed.

Van Zyl It appears to be the correct place.

Kentridge When you saw Biko, was he on mats on the floor?

Van Zyl That is correct.

The existence of a telex message sent by Col. Goosen to Security Police Headquarters in Pretoria was revealed in the closing days of the inquest. Goosen in evidence had denied its existence; but it was revealed by Brigadier Zietsman, Head of the Security Police in Pretoria.

Kentridge sought permission to call the Brigadier as a witness, to probe the investigation carried out by the Brigadier after Biko’s death. But this the magistrate refused.

Commenting on this. Sir David Napley, observing on behalf of the Law Society, wrote: I had the impression that the magistrate (as I believe, by misdirecting himself on the law) refused permission for Brigadier Zietsman to be called as a witness, he had not appreciated that it would remain open to Mr. Kentridge to cross-examine Colonel Goosen as to information contained in the Brigadier’s affidavit.

The message was telexed on 16 September—four days after Biko’s death—and stated that Biko’s injury was ‘inflicted’ at 7 a.m. on 7 September.

Witness: Colonel Goosen

Kentridge You told us that no telex had been sent from your office.

Goosen No telex message directly concerning Biko’s injury.

Kentridge We have been given a telex message by courtesy of Brigadier Zietsman signed by you and dated the 16th.

Goosen It concerns the transport arrangements.

Kentridge It also deals with Biko’s injury?

Goosen I’d like to see it.

Kentridge Why didn’t you tell us about it before?

Goosen It concerned transport arrangements.

Kentridge When Major-General J. F. Kleinhaus came to investigate didn’t he ask for documents?

Goosen No.

Kentridge Didn’t he search your offices?

Goosen No.

Kentridge The telex message addressed by you to security headquarters, Pretoria, refers to a telephonic conversation between you and Col. du Preez dealing with the circumstances and methods of transporting Biko to Pretoria . . . You further said that the matter was urgent because Biko’s condition had deteriorated since he was admitted to the cells on the 11th. You said that at the time of his admission he could still walk, but later gave the impression that he was in a semi-coma.

In your evidence you would never concede that Biko had been in a semi-coma?

Goosen It was never clearly put to me in Court.

Kentridge You gave the impression that you did not regard the matter as urgent?

Goosen I did not regard it as urgent that he should get to an institution where he could be treated.

Kentridge In the telex message you also say that the district surgeon felt Biko should be removed to a prison where facilities were available.

You said he did not eat and that small quantities of water were given to him on two occasions, that at times he was asleep and at times awake. Is that in accordance with your evidence that your impression at the time was that there was nothing seriously wrong?

Goosen I did say that we were worried about his condition.

Kentridge You said that the telex had nothing to do with the injuries, yet in it you said he had sustained injuries at 7 a.m. on 7 September; and that these were covered by an entry in the occurrence book; and that after the injury he refused to speak. Were you tying up his refusal to speak with his injuries?

Goosen A telex is a very short summary.

Kentridge You refer to the injury ‘which was inflicted’. By the 16th you were talking about an injury which had been inflicted on the detainee?

Goosen It was an inference.

Kentridge An inference that who had inflicted the injury?

Goosen That it had been inflicted during the scuffle.

Kentridge then referred to a telephone conversation Goosen had had with Brigadier Zietsman, who asked how far the questioning of Biko had progressed.

Kentridge You told him that Biko had indicated that he wanted 15 minutes to consider, but after 15 minutes indicated that he no longer wanted to co-operate?

Goosen Correct. Lieut. Wilken had told me Biko had asked for 15 minutes.

Kentridge Brigadier Zietsman had asked how far the examination had progressed and that was your answer?

Goosen Correct. We discussed it only in broad outline.

Kentridge On the basis of this I suggest that the whole story about Biko having made a confession must have been a fabrication?

Goosen No.

Kentridge If Major Snyman had told you what he told the court, that Biko had made a confession; you would have told Brigadier Zietsman that Biko had confessed to sending out pamphlets?

Goosen I did not discuss the matter in detail with Brig. Zietsman.

If you knew about the confession you would have told Brig.

Zietsman? He later spoke to you again and asked for about Biko’s arrest, the time from which he would not eat and his removal to the prison hospital.

GoosenCorrect.

KentridgeHe said at no stage did you say Biko had verbally threatened a hunger strike?

Goosen I had never said he would go on hunger strike.

Kentridge You were aware of the statement by the Minister of Police which indicated that Biko had verbally threatened a hunger strike? Can you give any assistance in understanding how the Minister came to make such a statement?

I cannot comment at all on Press statements made by the Minister.

Sources:  http://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/vii-police-0

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  1. Pingback: Steve Biko – THE INQUEST (Part III – THE OFFICER’S INVOLVED) | Setting the Record STR8

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