Pub brawl murder accused get bail

2008-09-12 00:00

Five men, including two policemen, who are allegedly involved in the killing of three patrons at an Umbilo pub after a heated racial brawl that started with an argument over who had the bigger penis, were granted bail yesterday.

Samuel Steven, Leon Steven, Nithianandan Ganess, Julian Naidoo and Naeem Sadick appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder and attempted murder. Samuel and Leon are brothers and are both employed as members of the South African Police Service. Samuel Steven has a pending case of extortion against him.

The five are accused of killing three patrons at the Merseyside bar in Umbilo on Wednesday night.

It is believed that the men were watching a soccer match when the argument over penis size broke out, and then escalated when the accused were reportedly called “coolies”.

According to the prosecutor, Priscilla Paterson, Samuel and Leon then went outside and fetched their firearms from their vehicle. Rory Menzies, Shaun Strydom and Nick Jansen van Rensburg were killed and another two patrons sustained serious injuries. They are in a stable condition in hospital.

Paterson told Magistrate Nomvungu that “all firearms, a state and private firearm, were confiscated”, and the state would not oppose bail provided that the accused did not go within 100 metres of the pub, which is situated on Hillier Road in Umbilo.

“The suspects are also prohibited from communicating with witnesses or anyone who was on the premises that night,” she said.

Another condition is that the accused report to a local police station once a week.

Zane Haneef, who is representing the Steven brothers and Sadick, said they will plead not guilty.

The Steven brothers claimed that being held at Westville Prison would put their lives at risk as they had arrested several criminals who are detained there.

Haneef said that the accused felt that CCTV footage of the incident would exonerate them from the crime. He also told Nomvungu that Samuel sustained serious facial injuries during the brawl and was at Mount Edgecombe Hospital at the time of his arrest.

Once the men paid their bail, they managed to evade media who were waiting outside the court by using a side entrance reserved for police vehicles. The Steven brothers were granted bail of R5 000 each and Ganess, Naidoo and Sadick were released on R3 000 bail. The case was adjourned to November 13.

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