Lawyers for Bozwana murder accused claim they were barred from accessing their clients in prison

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The Renault Clio in which Wandile Bozwana and his colleague, Mpho Baloyi drove in when they were gunned down.
The Renault Clio in which Wandile Bozwana and his colleague, Mpho Baloyi drove in when they were gunned down.
Thapelo Maphakela
  • Sipho Hudla, Robert Mathupha, Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela and Bonginkosi Khumalo are accused of murdering business mogul Wandile Bozwana and injuring Mpho Baloyi in Pretoria in 2015.
  • On Tuesday, the court heard that the defence teams were not granted access to the accused by Kgosi Mampuru prison.
  • The defence teams wanted to consult with their clients as they were expected to put their defences to court after the State closed its case.

The trial of four men accused of assassinating business mogul Wandile Bozwana could not continue on Tuesday as their lawyers have been denied entry into prison to consult with them.

Murder accused Sipho Hudla, Robert Mathupha, Vusi "Khekhe" Mathibela and Bonginkosi Khumalo appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, and the matter was postponed to Wednesday.

Advocate Anneline van den Heever, for one of the accused, placed it on record that the defence teams were denied access to their clients in Kgosi Mampuru prison on Monday to take instructions.

"We were told specifically that we would not be allowed to consult," Van den Heever said.

"We were just told that we can't go in. It is extremely frustrating to be in this position."

Van Den Heever asked that they be allowed to consult with the accused in the court's holding cells.

She added that the defence team wanted to consult privately and be able to take their files to the holding cells.

READ | Men accused of assassinating businessman Wandile Bozwana fail to have case against them dismissed

Judge Mokhine Mosopa said he was not in control of making such decisions but granted the application to have the matter postponed to Wednesday for the purposes of consultation.

The defence teams said they needed to consult with the accused as they were expected to put their defences to the court after the State closed its case earlier this year. The case started in 2018.

News24 reported in May this year that after the State closed its case the accused's lawyers brought a Section 174 application. In it they argued that  the matter be discharged as the State had presented no prima facie evidence proving that the accused had committed the crimes they were charged with.

Following arguments, the court dismissed the application and ruled that the evidence presented by the State had established a prima facie case against the accused.

Mosopa found that:

- The admission of the extra-curial statements of the accused establishes a solid prima facie case against them.

- The fact that the accused have been identified on CCTV footage confirms a prima facie case.

- The movement of the cellphones belonging to Hudla, Mathupha and Mathibela also establishes a prima facie case.

"This, in my view, is evidence upon which a reasonable man acting carefully may convict, and further there is a possibility that accused three [Mathibela] can be implicated by his co-accused in their case or cases and thus supplements the State's case," Mosopa said at the time.

Bozwana was murdered in a suspected hit on 2 October 2015. He and his business associate, Mpho Baloyi, had just returned from Johannesburg when they were gunned down at the Garsfontein off-ramp in Pretoria.

Bozwana died and Baloyi was injured.

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