One of the accused in Brendin Horner murder case gets bail, other remains behind bars

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  • Only one of the two men accused of murdering farm manager Brendin Horner has been granted bail.
  • Horner was found strangled to death on a farm in Paul Roux in the eastern Free State on 1 October. 
  • Both accused have denied wrongdoing but the State has argued that there is a strong case against them.

One of the men accused of the murder of farm manager Brendin Horner has been granted bail, but his co-accused will remain behind bars after the court dismissed his bail application.

This was the order Magistrate Deon van Rooyen gave when he delivered judgment in the bail application of Sekwetje Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa in the Senekal Magistrate's Court on Thursday. 

READ | Brendin Horner murder trial: Allegations of death threats, bribes and police involvement aired during bail application

Van Rooyen said the State did not appear to have a strong case against Matlaletsa.

He added that Matlaletsa was not a flight risk and that his last conviction was for trespassing nine years ago. 

The magistrate said he could not keep Matlaletsa in custody just because there might be public outrage.

EXPLAINER | What the State and defence have argued in the Brendin Horner murder case

Co-accused, Mahlamba, however, did not make out a case for his release on bail and Van Rooyen said there was prima facie evidence against him.

The court said one of the witnesses was his girlfriend and that he might attempt to influence her.

Mahlamba and Matlaletsa are accused of strangling Horner to death of a farm in Paul Roux in the eastern Free State on the evening of 1 October.

READ | Witness in Brendin Horner murder case allegedly threatened by accused's relative to keep quiet

Horner's body was discovered the following morning. He had several stab wounds as well as abrasions to his thigh, which indicated that he had been dragged across a gravel road.

The 21-year-old's body was found tied to the bottom of a fence pole just metres from the gate to the house he and his girlfriend lived in on the farm where he worked.

Both Mahlamba and Matlaletsa denied any wrongdoing and informed the court that they intended to plead not guilty.

They also told the court that they had alibis, saying that they were with their partners on the night of the murder.

However, the State has since presented evidence from Mahlamba's girlfriend, who conceded that when she woke up during the night, he was gone and that he only returned the following morning.

Matlaletsa's wife gave police an affidavit stating that he was with her the entire night.

Mahlamba and Matlaletsa's Legal Aid attorneys argued that the case against their clients was weak and that it was based on circumstantial evidence, but the State maintained that there was a prima facie case against the accused.

This is a developing story.

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