Murder: Former municipal security officer denied bail

2016-02-16 12:45

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Pietermaritzburg - Former municipal security officer Sifiso Hlengwa (39), who is charged with shooting dead Superintendent Pumla Dlamini at the traffic department on January 14, has been denied bail.

Pietermaritzburg magistrate Y. Khuzwayo said yesterday in her opinion there was no guarantee that he would attend court and stand his trial if ­released on bail.

She said defence advocate Brad ­Osborne had argued that Hlengwa had handed himself over to police after ­being on the run for nearly two weeks. However, she said this did not indicate that he would stand trial.

Khuzwayo said the state had pointed out that he fled the scene of the alleged crime in his official car immediately ­after the shooting and, after the vehicle overturned, also fled the scene of the accident. He then went into hiding.

“It was hard for the police to find you even within the district of Pietermaritzburg. It was only when you handed yourself over that the police were able to arrest you,” she told Hlengwa.

Khuzwayo said according to ­Hlengwa’s own affidavit, one of the ­reasons he went into hiding was out of fear for his own life. “It is not clear how the court can be sure that his life will be safe now. It is not clear how ­circumstances have changed,” she said.

Khuzwayo said Hlengwa had said that one of the reasons he should be released was because he had a family to support. He has a total of eight ­dependants, including his six children.

However, she said since then ­Hlengwa’s circumstances had changed as his advocate confirmed that he had been dismissed from his employment.

The court was also of the view that it would not have been in the interests of justice for him to return to the ­shooting scene and “where the ­witnesses all are” if he was released on bail, the magistrate said.

According to the state, the witnesses were traumatised and afraid of ­Hlengwa. Khuzwayo said although Hlengwa had not given details relating to the shooting in his bail application, other than to say he intends to plead not guilty, it appeared to be accepted that he “does not dispute” that he was present at the scene of the shooting; that he and Dlamini were “alone in a closed office”; and that some shots were fired while the two were in the ­office. It was fair to say that he had a case to meet and faces a “very heavy sentence” if convicted.

The state had argued that this might be an incentive for Hlengwa to evade his trial, and she was in agreement.

The case was postponed to March 22, pending completion of outstanding investigations in the case.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  crime  |  court

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