State: case is strong

2016-06-01 11:08
Busi Mkhize protests against the granting of bail to Pietermaritzburg man Altaaf Dawood, who is accused of killing her nephew, street child Cebolethu Ngcobo (17).

Busi Mkhize protests against the granting of bail to Pietermaritzburg man Altaaf Dawood, who is accused of killing her nephew, street child Cebolethu Ngcobo (17). (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Sitting teary and red-eyed, Altaaf Dawood, who is accused of gunning down a Pietermaritzburg street child, on Tuesday appeared briefly in court to hear the outcome of his bail application.

However, the application was rolled over for judgment until next Tuesday.

A prosecutor yesterday told Pietermaritzburg magistrate M. Boikhutso they would oppose bail, citing that the strength of the case is “overwhelming” and that allowing Dawood bail would compromise the safety of the witnesses.

The state also said it believes Dawood would evade his trial if granted bail.

Dawood stands accused of shooting dead Cebolethu Ngcobo (17) on Saturday, May 21 near the mosque on Church Street.

The Witness previously reported that Cebolethu apparently approached Dawood, who was attending mosque at about 7 pm, when the shooting occurred. It is believed Dawood then ran into the mosque property, where he was later arrested.

Dawood’s defence attorney, Phumlani Fakude, yesterday argued that the state was relying “heavily” on CCTV footage of the incident which, he said, would be scrutinised during the trial on the basis that it may not identify him clearly.

Fakude added there may be a case of mistaken identity, as the clothing Dawood was wearing that night was used by all Muslims attending mosque.

He said Dawood was prepared to pay R6 000 for bail.

Dawood — who is described in the court papers as being married with one stepchild, and as a 25-year-old general worker at Big Sky Trading in Church Street — listened carefully as his lawyer told the court there was insufficient evidence that he was a flight risk. Fakude said Dawood also had no prior convictions or other pending cases.

Replying to the argument that Dawood would intimidate witnesses, the lawyer said his client was prepared to move out of the CBD and live with his grandmother in Copesville.

Before Dawood appeared yesterday, a group of Cebolethu’s friends and family protested outside the court, asking for bail to be denied.

Speaking to The Witness outside court, Cebolethu’s aunt Busi Mkhize said the family was going through a “difficult time”.

“[Dawood] must not get bail; he must go to jail. We say ‘no’ to the killing of an innocent child and as a church and community we are starting a campaign to preach to street children to go back to their homes …” Mkhize said.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  court

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