Murderer gets bail after new evidence

2013-04-18 19:41

Durban - A man serving a life sentence for the murder of a prominent IFP leader was released on bail by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Thursday.

Nkosinathi Chiya, 29, was granted R4 000 bail.

In 2006, Chiya was sentenced to life for the murder of Thomas Mandla Shabalala. He had spent seven years in Durban's Westville Prison.

A group of men ambushed Shabalala outside his house in Lindelani's C Section, near KwaMashu, in 2005.

Lindokuhle Mdletshe, for Chiya, said new evidence had come to light which might result in his client's acquittal.

Mdletshe said the new evidence was in the form of affidavits from reliable sources who would testify when the matter came to court.

Chiya would apply to have his sentence overturned. His application had however been put on hold because the court needed to reconstruct aspects of his trial.

Details of the conviction and evidence led during the trial disappeared from a computer before they could be transcribed because of a system crash. Only information about the sentencing was available.

Chiya reportedly confessed to Shabalala's murder after police assaulted him.

The Mercury newspaper reported that Chiya had sworn statements implicating four people, including a relative of the murdered man, and an affidavit by a Port Shepstone sangoma, Dorothy Nokuthula Mhlongo.

According to the statement there were new suspects. It was believed Chiya's new evidence was a suicide note left by a man who confessed to the murder.

The court room was packed with Inkatha Freedom Party supporters who cheered when Chiya was granted bail.

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