Heist case sent from ‘pillar to post’

2009-09-11 00:00

FOR two days a senior investigating officer of the organised crime unit and lawyers representing four armed robbery accused waited in vain in the corridors of the magistrate’s courts for a court to deal with a bail application.

One of the accused on trial is a policeman from Umlazi, Durban.

The case was sent from “pillar to post” and several times the media and other interested parties were informed that the bail hearing would be dealt with at specific times.

Four different courts and magistrates were assigned, but on ever­y occasion the bail hearing failed to proceed for one reason or another.

Yesterday, frustration bubbled over and advocate Martin Krog, who appeared for one of the accused, demanded that the state eithe­r deal with the bail application or withdraw the charges.

At about 2.30 pm yesterday, a prosecutor, Pranisha Kasool, was appointed to conduct the case and yet another court was allocated, but to the dismay of those concerned the lawyer of one of the accused was by then required to attend to an urgent application in the high court.

The case again came before magistrate Divesh Mootheram, who, after discussions in chambers with the representatives, ordered that the bail application be given preference on Monday’s court roll.

On trial are police constable Nkosinathi Emmanuel Buthe­lezi (37), Skhumbuzo Khanyile (38), Sboniso Mgobhozi (24) and Sandile Blose (28), all of Umlazi.

The four men face charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances arising from a hold-up at Shosholoza bottle store at The Grange on July 27, as well as unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and theft of a Nissan Drifter 4x4 bakkie, which was stolen prior to the robbery in Durban.

A victim, a pregnant woman, was reportedly hospitalised after suffering a threatened miscarriage induced by shock.

The robber gang allegedly made off with about R600 in cash and five bottles of liquor.

The four accused were arrested by police while travelling towards Durban on the N3 within 10 minutes of the robbery.

Police allegedly recovered a 7,65 mm pistol and a toy gun fashioned to look like a Beretta pistol from their vehicle, along with cash and alcohol.

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