Deputy mayor’s bodyguard gets bail

2008-10-15 00:00

The suspended bodyguard of Msunduzi’s deputy mayor, Sherwin Naidoo (30), and Collin Gous (28) of Woodlands, who face charges of kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms, were yesterday granted bail of R2 000.

In her judgment, Pietermaritzburg magistrate Judy Gurie said that while the investigating officer, Inspector Robin Mays, expressed his fear for the safety of state witnesses if the accused were granted bail, he admitted yesterday that it was a “personal fear” and not “tangible” or based on factual evidence.

Gurie said the case is serious, but not “outrageously” so. She said it was for the trial court to decide the merits of the prosecution. Gurie also commented that the court cannot be ruled by “outcries of society”.

She said it is understandable that the case has evoked public interest because of Naidoo’s job, but the court had to decide on bail based on the facts before it.

Gurie said Mays did not contend, nor was there any evidence to suggest that the accused would abscond and evade trial.

Yesterday, both accused declined to give evidence relating to the merits of the charges.

In his testimony, however, Naidoo claimed that as a member of the VIP Protection Unit and a member of the Static Response Unit (which protects members of the national executive), he had authority to possess official firearms “24 hours” of every day as he was always on stand-by duty.

The state suggested to him that he was bound by a code that stipulates that when off duty, the firearms had to be locked away in a safe.

The accused are charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and a rifle, and a charge that they kidnapped Carlos Leslie Ramon Thurston in Chief Albert Luthuli Street on October 5.

The state alleges the motive was to extort money he owed the men for drug sales.

The accused deny the incident was drug related.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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