No bail for policemen

2007-12-20 00:00

Dismissing a bail appeal by six men, including two policemen, facing a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances arising from the robbery of R50 000 in “stokvel” money at New Hanover, a high court judge commented that he has noticed an increasing tendency in policemen to allegedly engage in criminal conduct while on duty.

“Appellants three [Thabane Hlongwane] and four [Shadrack Sikhumuzo Gwala] in this matter were serving policemen actively engaged in policing.

“Our country is beset by a wave of armed robbery and serious crime. In my view the magistrate correctly came to the conclusion that this is not a deserving application for bail,” Judge Jan Combrinck said.

The judge commented earlier that the six accused — Sifiso Jila, Ayanda Sibisi, Hlongwane, Gwala, Mxolisi Mbatha and Siboniso Shangase — appear on the evidence (at their bail hearing) to have been caught “red handed”, and that the state’s case against the accused appears to be strong.

The Witness was requested by lawyers not to divulge the names of the alleged victims in the case — all of them women — as they fear for their safety.

It is alleged that the accused hijacked a vehicle belonging to a doctor, which was then used as a getaway car following the robbery of a group of about 30 women.

It is alleged that shots were fired during the robbery and that some victims were injured.

En route to Pietermaritzburg, the assailants were stopped by police who allegedly recovered firearms and money.

The accused face two charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

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