On Wednesday.a woman accused of hiring two hitmen to murder her parents and siblings, when she was just 16 years old,  appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria  All three accused, who cannot be named because they were minors at the time the crimes took place, pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder, one count of theft and one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The State announced it would be admitting confession statements made by all three accused.  This was as it produced the evidence of the first police officer at the scene in Mmakau Village, in Brits, on 6 December 2016. The legal representatives for the accused of the woman and the two alleged hitmen, who are cousins, told the court they would be challenging the admissibility of the confessions.

According to the first accused, one of the cousins, the confession was obtained in the absence of a legal representative, and he was not given an opportunity to consult with a lawyer beforehand. On the other hand, the woman alleged that her legal rights were not explained and that she was coerced into confessing. She claimed that she was misled by the police officer who took her statement.

The other cousin claimed he was assaulted and then forced to confess to playing a role in the crime. A trial within a trial will now be held for the court to determine the admissibility of the confession statements.The accused have also been charged with the theft of a cellphone, a vehicle and R2 000 in cash.

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