Accused on bail seeks bail again

2011-09-16 00:00

A MAN who was on bail in a murder case was the only one of seven accused in a gang attack to apply for bail yesterday.

The group, including a 17-year-old, face four charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, gang rape and murder.

The charges arise from an attack on a man and woman walking home in Pietermaritzburg’s CBD in the early hours of June 4 this year.

The accused are charged with robbing the 20-year-old woman of her cellphone at knifepoint and raping her, and with the robbery and murder of Busani Yeni (50).

Only 24-year-old Arthur Sibonyana, who is represented by attorney Anthony Irons, applied for bail. His co-accused: Mzwethu Mzimela (26); Muzwe Mncwabe (21); Sanele Mthalane (21); the juvenile; Sibusiso Makhathini (18) and Nkululeko Makhaye (19) abandoned their applications for bail.

Opposing bail for Sibonyana, the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Adaan de Villiers said he has a strong case against all the accused, including Sibonyana, with the evidence of a “204” or accomplice witness to the crimes. He said the rape victim also identified two of the accused.

He said he believes his witnesses would be in jeopardy if any of the accused got bail.

De Villiers said Sibonyana claimed to have an alibi — that he was staying at a lodge in Pinetown at the time. However, the manager of the lodge said his records did not reflect that Sibonyana was there.

The state is still awaiting the results of tests on DNA material obtained from the crime scene.

De Villiers said some of the accused, including Sibonyana, are already facing similar charges.

Irons submitted that the state has a “weak” case against Sibonyana based on the evidence of an accomplice. He said Sibonyana has consistently maintained he had an alibi and the defence would produce a receipt of payment made to the lodge.

He said it could be months before the DNA results are available.

Magistrate Reard Abrahams will give a ruling on September 29.

 

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