30 Jun 2013 09:40
GOBABIS, 30 JUN (NAMPA) ? Gobabis residents Niko Kotze and Frederick du Plessis, who are both facing racial discrimination and assault charges following a physical attack on Levi Katire earlier this month, were released on bail here Friday.
Kotze was granted a chance to post bail in the amount of N.dollars 5 000, while Du Plessis ? who faces an additional charge of attempted murder ? was released on bail of N.dollars 10 000.
Gobabis Magistrate Victor Nyazo granted bail to the duo after a protracted bail hearing that lasted three weeks.
Handing down his judgement in a packed Gobabis Magistrate?s Court, Nyazo dismissed the state?s assertion that granting bail to the two suspects will not be in the interest of the public.
Nyazo ruled that the purported demonstrations by members of the public against the grating of bail to the suspects, which the prosecution claimed was a legitimate ground for the refusal of bail, could not be allowed to stand as such.
According to the magistrate, there was enough evidence before the court to the effect that the demonstrations by the public were orchestrated, planned and organised.
This, he said, is contrary to prescribed laws of demonstrations which state that such a process should be spontaneous and not induced on people.
?This court heard that there was a vehicle with a loudspeaker going around Gobabis, urging people to join a demonstration against the granting of bail to the two suspects,? he said.
Nyazo said the fact that public opinion on the matter came from beyond Gobabis where the alleged attack on Katire took place, is a clear indication that most people holding such opinions could not possibly have been fully informed on the matters at hand.
?Such misconceived public outcry could turn the courts into a mob justice, something that should not be allowed at all cost,? he noted.
The magistrate further stated that the members of the public were mostly ill-informed on the real purpose of bail in criminal cases, as they regarded the denial of bail as a punishment for an alleged offence committed.
He said it has become common practice for members of the public to find suspects guilty of an offence upon arrest.
?Every person is regarded innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As such, bail cannot be denied simply because a person has been charged with the offence. On the other hand, the granting of bail can also not be seen to mean that the person is free of the charge,? said Nyazo.
The two suspects have already paid their bail and they were released from custody.
They were represented by Advocate Louis Botes and Gobabis Lawyer Bennie Venter, while the State was represented by Gobabis? Control Prosecutor Johan Pienaar.
The case was postponed to 30 August 2013 to allow the police to finalise its investigations.