Ficksburg bail hearing postponed

2011-04-26 14:18

The Ficksburg Regional Court has postponed the bail hearing of eight policemen accused of beating protester Andries Tatane to death.

Regional Magistrate Philip Visser postponed judgment on the bail applications to Friday.

Visser said the process was an emotional issue, but the court could not indulge emotions. It had a duty under the Constitution and had to base its decision on facts.

Visser said the court would make its ruling without fear, favour or prejudice.

A group of local residents outside the court welcomed the news that the police officers would stay in custody until Friday with loud cheers.

A large number of police officers were inside the court to keep an eye on proceedings. Several police vehicles, including a water cannon, and more officers were out of sight, around the corner about a block from the court building.

Journalists were patted down from shoes to neck and had their bags and wallets searched just inside the court precinct.

No recording equipment, not even cellphones without cameras, were allowed inside. At the door to the court building journalists were again searched.

Inside the courtroom, which can accommodate about 30 people, the small group of journalists were again asked for cellphones while nine warrant officers and a captain watched their every move.

Journalists leaving the court to file copy battled to get back into the premises.

The police ignored journalists’ pleas that they did not intend to contravene the court’s earlier decision against the taking of photos.

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