Satanic ritual accused a flight risk - judge

2011-11-21 21:13
Johannesburg - Two of the five young men accused of setting alight two girls in a suspected Satanic ritual were denied bail on Monday.

The Johannesburg Magistrate's Court found that Robin Harwood, 18, and Harvey Isha, 23, could produce no exceptional circumstances for bail, as required for schedule six offences by the Criminal Procedures Act.

Magistrate Andre Peterson said their affidavits did not reveal "something substantially out of the ordinary" to qualify for bail.

Harwood's application was based on the fact he would need to write year-end exams.

Isha's application was based on the fact he suffered from Sickle Cell disease, a recessive genetic blood disorder, and would need special medical care.

"Applicant one [Harwood] is a troubled child... who has given false addresses to the police and hasn't been in school since September 16," Peterson said.

"I am not convinced that he has even remotely shown exceptional circumstances and therefore his bail is refused."


As for Isha, Peterson said he was a flight risk, despite being a recognised refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He said there was no indication that he had fixed assets to keep him in the country.

He also concluded that it was not necessary for Isha to be out on bail in order to receive special medical care.

Isha could apply for relevant treatment and a special diet if needed while in custody, he said.

Both would remain in custody until their appearance on Wednesday.

They would appear alongside Lindon Wagner, 21, Lester Moody, 18, and Jeremy King, 18.

A sixth accused, a 16-year-old girl, would also appear.

The court would decide on Wednesday if the trial would be postponed for further investigation or be moved to the South Gauteng High Court.

Kirsty Theologo, 18, died in the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital a week after being doused with petrol and set alight on a koppie behind the Linmeyer swimming pool in Julius Street on October 21.

A 14-year-old friend of hers was also burnt, but she survived. The six youths are charged with murder and attempted murder.

Not guilty plea

Earlier, Harwood said in an affidavit he intended to plead not guilty to the charges, despite having made an alleged confession to the police following his arrest.

In her argument against bail, State prosecutor Colleen Ryan said Harwood clearly had no respect for authority.

His mother, Deidre Moses, had confirmed on the stand that he stayed away from school and was suspended for smoking dagga while on school premises.

"There was no such control in the past, what is the likelihood he will exercise such control in the future?" Ryan asked the court.

She said the crimes against the girls showed a horrifying degree of violence.

"To have the audacity to set one or two of your friends alight, people that you have known... the applicants clearly have a disposition of violence."

Peterson said both men were over the age of 18 and therefore fully aware of the repercussions of their behaviour.

He said their age would not exclude them from the possibility of life imprisonment, the sentence handed down for similar cases in the past.
Read more on:    kirsty theologo  |  johannesburg  |  ritual crimes

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