Shaw finally granted bail

2008-03-01 00:00

Fifty-seven-year-old Hilton Shaw — who has spent six months in custody awaiting trial on a charge that he murdered his wife Susan at their remote Nottingham Road property on June 3 last year — was granted bail of R100 000 following his appeal to the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Howick magistrate Nhlanhla Mpanza had previously turned down three bail applications by Shaw.

Judge Anton van Zyl yesterday said the difficulty the high court had was that Mpanza gave very brief judgments in each of the applications, making it hard to determine the reasons that led him to his conclusion in each application.

He was, therefore, driven to conclude that he gave inadequate consideration to the applications.

He said this did not automatically mean that Shaw had to be given bail, but allowed the high court to examine the background of the case afresh.

He stressed the purpose of a bail application was not to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Judge Van Zyl said at this stage it appeared that the state’s investigations were largely complete and the trial set to proceed in the high court in May.

Witnesses in the case had already committed themselves to their version and it appeared to him that the likelhood that Shaw could interfere with the state’s case was "fairly remote". He was not a "career criminal" or a person who had dabbled in crime.

"The charge is that on the fateful day, for reasons that at this stage can only be speculated upon, the state alleges that he killed his wife. The probabilities suggest it was probably a crime of passion, if indeed he did kill his wife," the judge said.

He said there was nothing at this stage to suggest that Shaw was likely to interfere with state witnesses or not stand his trial. Every accused facing serious charges has an incentive to escape and leave the country, he said.

Van Zyl said Shaw has spent his entire life in South Africa and any resources he can muster are in this country.

There was also no evidence to suggest he had the means to sustain himself if he fled and took up life as a fugitive, although state advocate Dorian Paver had suggested that he might be funded by his children.

"These are possibilities but not necessarily probabilities," said Van Zyl.

He said it was in the interests of justice to grant Shaw bail. He was ordered to report to police at Westville twice weekly.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.