Aug 18, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

No progress in bail bid of Hillary Gardee’s murder accused

There was another delay in the bail application of Sipho Mkhatshwa – one of the men charged with the murder of Hillary Gardee.

On Thursday his bail application, which was partially accepted, was postponed to the same July 22 date when the main hearing is scheduled to resume in court.

Prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni told the court that the bail application could not be processed because Mkhatshwa’s lawyers received the transcribed recording of his partial hearing.

Last month, his attorneys dropped him in the middle of his bail request, citing a conflict of interest. He has since appointed new attorneys.

His co-defendants, Philemon Lukhele and Albert Gama, were present in court and intended to seek bail. Her case was also postponed to July 22 in order to seek bail.

Philemon Lukhele and Mduduzi Gama’s attorney, Attorney Nqobizitha Mlilo, told the court that they intend to pursue a formal to initiate an investigation by the court to determine whether the accused were properly brought to trial.

He claimed that each time the accused appeared before the court they told the court about the torture they had suffered at the hands of the police. He told the court that evidence obtained through torture was inadmissible and said at the inquest that this was one of the things for the court to make a finding on. He said the investigation will directly affect his clients’ requests for bail.

“Are these defendants right before you? The state cannot benefit from unclean hands,” Mlilo said.

Previously, prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni dropped a bombshell and said the state is adding a charge of conspiracy to murder against all three defendants.

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Mpolweni told Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court he could not give details of who the three planned to kill.

“For security reasons, the state will not name the person who was set to be killed reveal,” he said.

The trio have been behind bars since Gardee’s body was discovered outside Mbombela in May – several days after she went missing. The 28-year-old had been raped and shot.

Magistrate Eddie Hall denied the application because the trial had not yet begun and the police investigation was still ongoing.

Broadcast proceedings could have repercussions later in the trial.

“This court will not render a judgment. The family is more interested in [the] trial where a verdict is reached,” Hall said.

The family requested that the trial be broadcast live, but defense attorneys disagreed.

The Gardee family’s legal representative Onalenna Thaga, who has a monitoring assignment, said some family members were abroad and wanted to be part of the process.

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