Court registrar admits to bail blunder

2013-11-28 00:00

A JUDGE’S registrar admitted in the high court here yesterday that she had failed to record the fact that the accused, Sivion Mkhize, was given bail pending his appeal against his murder and robbery convictions in 2001.

Mkhize is suing the Justice Department for R16 million for having spent two years and three months in custody until his appeal succeeded and he was released from Waterval prison maximum security section on February 13, 2004.

He alleges, however, that he had been under the impression, even then, that his release was due to the fact that he had finally been released on bail, and said he only found out in 2008 that he had been acquitted on appeal.

Advocate G. Reddy, who appears for the Justice Department, yesterday called Judge Leona Theron’s registrar, Sharon Candy, to testify in the case.

She confirmed in her evidence that she had incorrectly noted the case number on a document concerning the trial as CC 124/01 when the correct number was CC 124/00.

She also agreed that she had not recorded the fact that Judge Theron granted Mkhize bail of R5 000 pending his appeal, nor issued a “warrant of liberation” for Mkhize.

This is the release document the authorities rely on when people come to pay bail.

She said judge’s registrars have many duties to perform even when they are busy with trials, and she believes she wasn’t in court when bail was granted.

Candy confirmed that records produced by the state show that the circuit court had continued to sit at Dundee until November 21 — a week after Mkhize was sentenced and granted leave to appeal.

She said no one approached her during that time to rectify the mistake.

Had they done so she would have rectified it immediately, she said.

The case has been adjourned to December 10 for legal argument.

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