31 Oct 2018 17:00pm
OSHAKATI, 31 OCT (NAMPA) The suspects in the ongoing Oshakati human trafficking case have been granted bail at the end of their protracted bail application hearing in the magistrates court here on Wednesday.
Presiding Chief Magistrate Mika Namweya granted Sylvia Bonifatius, 20, and 32-year-old Jacobus van Zyl bail of N.dollars 2 000 and N.dollars 5 000, respectively.
Namweya granted them bail despite a number of witnesses called in by the State Prosecutor, Chrisna Masule to oppose the granting of bail on grounds that the case is of a serious nature and fear of interference in the police investigation.
The witnesses have also asked the court not to grant bail because of public interest and the administration of justice, and have expressed concern that investigations are at a preliminary stage and the two accused might abscond.
Bonifatius and Van Zyls bail application hearing took almost a month before its conclusion on Wednesday, when the duo finally walked out of court with smiles on their faces.
The court was unable to be persuaded that probabilities exist that the accused will not stand their trial based on the grounds raised by the respondents (State), Namweya stated.
He further pointed out that the State and its witnesses did not place the court into believing that conviction is inevitable, therefore it is circumspect that a lengthy sentence could be incentive for the accused to abscond.
Further, the respondent has failed to show that likelihood exists that the accused harbour any intentions to interfere or tamper with evidence, Namweya argued.
Bonifatius and Van Zyl were arrested towards the end of September this year and charged with trafficking in persons, after a local 14-year-old learner was allegedly abducted from Oshakati to Ondangwa, where she was allegedly held at a private house.
They are also charged with rape, combating of immoral practices, drugging a female for unlawful carnal intercourse, use of means to stupefy a female for unlawful carnal intercourse and kidnapping.
Their case is postponed to 22 January 2019 for further police investigations.
Bonifatius, who was represented by Simson Aingura during the bail hearing, will next time be represented by Mukasa Gromyko Mwala under Legal Aid, while Pieter Greyling continues defending Van Zyl.