Pietermaritzburg – The KwaZulu-Natal farmer who allegedly shot and killed a mourner at a funeral on his farm in Cramond, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, has been denied bail because he "failed to give exceptional circumstances and unusual factors on why he should be released on bail".
Magistrate Fikile Luvuno ruled on Wednesday that Edward Philip Solomon, 65, would be kept in isolation until his next court appearance on February 27.
"The release of the accused person on bail will not be in the interest of justice," ruled Luvuno.
Solomon, who wore a black two-piece overall that looked similar to workwear, and green open-back shoes, appeared at the New Hanover Magistrate's Court on Wednesday for the murder of Mothi Ngubane and the attempted murder of Mondli Lembethe.
With his legs crossed at the knee from the beginning of his bail application judgment at 11:45 until about 13:30, when Luvuno delivered her verdict, Solomon kept taking notes in a small stack of A4-sized papers, that he came into court with.
When she finally ruled that Solomon's application was "refused", he sat up straight and took off his shoes.
Threats and attack on wife
His lawyer, Advocate Brad Osborne, asked that his client be kept in isolation from other inmates at New Prison in Pietermaritzburg because "the threats are real".
The court heard that threats had been made against Solomon.
"It shows that other inmates are not favouring the accused. It has been said that they were starving him and some want to inflict injuries on him. His common law wife has also been attacked," said Luvuno.
The murder and attempted murder that Solomon has been charged with occurred on December 30.
The Lembethes had a funeral at Solomon's farm in Otto's Bluff and he allegedly tried to stop the burial.
Solomon, in his affidavit, said he could afford to pay R5 000 for bail.
"Comparing the sum offered by the accused in his affidavit to the seriousness of the crime committed, R5 000 is nothing," said Luvuno.
She ruled that Solomon could also destroy evidence if he was released on bail.
"The act of the applicant in inflicting three gunshot wounds to the deceased in front of mourners shows that he can easily destroy evidence," she said.
Solomon had told the court that he acted in self-defence.
Luvuno said Solomon's affidavit "didn't carry much weight" because "it was not subject to cross-examination".
Call for life sentence
"The State provided the court with evidence that the accused has a previous conviction which he did not divulge in his affidavit," she said.
Solomon's previous assault conviction dated back to 1999 where he paid a R100 fine.
Luvuno said she also took into consideration the fact that since Solomon's case began on January 2, "there have been people demonstrating outside court".
She ruled that if Solomon was released on bail, public peace would be destabilised where he lived.
Solomon tried to reach out to his lawyer before he left the courtroom but a court orderly took him away before he could get to him.
Ngubane's mother, Irina Mbanjwa, told News24 she was happy that Solomon was denied bail.
"He killed my son who did not even reside at his farm. It also breaks my heart that he (Solomon) denied that he knew my son who once worked for him at his farm. Now that he has been denied bail, I want the court to sentence him to life in jail," said the mother.
The demonstrators, who wore ANC and IFP T-shirts, ululated and celebrated when they heard that Solomon had been denied bail.