Murder accused denied bail again

2008-02-21 00:00

Estcourt murder accused Mohamed Shuaib Sathar, who is charged with the murder of his cousin, Safia Mahomed (21) on September 15, 2005, was yesterday again denied bail by a regional court magistrate, who found that police would be unable to ensure Sathar’s safety if he was released.

It was Sathar’s third bail application since his arrest soon after the murder and was based on “new facts”, mainly the delay in finalising the case.

Regional magistrate Fred de Beer said in his judgment that the bail application was fraught with a history of violence and threats and the situation remains volatile.

He also considered there is a strong likelihood that Sathar would evade his trial if granted bail.

De Beer said he could not comment on defence submissions that the man who is charged with the attempted murder of Sathar’s mother, Sarah Sathar, has been granted bail by another court as that is an unrelated matter.

Mohamed Yunus, brother of the murder victim in this case, is charged with having opened fire on a vehicle transporting Sarah Sathar along the N3 to visit her son in prison in Pietermaritzburg last year. The driver of the vehicle was killed.

Investigating officer Inspector Siyabonga Gabriel Kheswa has said in an affidavit in which he opposed Sathar’s bail application that the attack on Sarah Sathar demonstrated his fear for Sathar’s safety if he were to be released and that the granting of bail could disturb the public order.

In an affidavit submitted yesterday in support of Sathar’s bail application, defence attorney Viren Naidoo said Kheswa failed to disclose in his affidavit that Yunus had been given bail by a magistrate at Colenso.

Naidoo alleged further that Kheswa had also failed to point out “material contradictions and striking improbabilities” that emerged in the evidence led at Sathar’s trial.

For example, he said that a “pointing out” of the murder scene by Sathar was “tainted by irregularities”.

He also criticised the failure of police to investigate Sathar’s alibi, which, he said, was raised before the pointing out procedure.

Responding to state allegations that delays in finalising Sathar’s trial were due to lengthy cross-examination of state witnesses by the defence and not the actions of the prosecution or police, Naidoo said this was “misleading”.

He said that considerable court time was lost due to national strike action, the malfunctioning of recording equipment at the high court over several days, and other factors such as the trial judge and assessors being unavailable for the continuation of the trial during certain months this year.

Sathar’s murder trial is due to resume in the high court on May 5 this year. He is charged with murdering his cousin in her Estcourt home by striking her repeatedly on the head with a dumbbell, stabbing her with a kitchen knife and slitting her throat.

The victim reportedly died of severe haemorrhage due to bleeding from “multiple lacerations”.

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