Mur­der case bail hear­ing post­poned

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE bail hear­ing of four peo­ple, ac­cused of kid­nap­ping, rob­bing, as­sault­ing and mur­der­ing Cape Town-based botanists Rod­ney, 73, and Rachel, 64, Saun­ders was post­poned again this week.

This af­ter pro­ceed­ings stalled in the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court on Thurs­day af­ter one of the ac­cused re­jected his le­gal aid at­tor­ney.

Hus­band and wife Sayefudeen del Vec­chio, 37, and Fa­tima Pa­tel, 27, and Them­ba­mandla Xulu, 19, and Ah­mad Jack­son Mussa, 36, known as “Bazooka”, ap­peared be­fore Mag­is­trate Chris An­na­malai, who was stand­ing in for Mag­is­trate Valara­men Kathravaloo.

All four have been charged with kid­nap­ping, as­sault, rob­bery and – more re­cently – the mur­ders of the Saun­ders.

Del Vec­chio and Pa­tel also face ter­ror­ism charges.

Malaw­ian na­tional Mussa was the last to be ar­rested on March 22 in a case that has made in­ter­na­tional head­lines.

Xulu’s bail bid was re­jected and while Thurs­day’s pro­ceed­ing was for a bail bid for Pa­tel, the court heard that Del Vec­chio would also be ap­ply­ing.

How­ever, pro­ceed­ings were sub­stan­tially stalled as Mussa re­jected his le­gal aid de­fence twice while mak­ing use of a court trans­la­tor, say­ing he wanted pri­vate rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The in­struct­ing at­tor­ney for Pa­tel and Del Vec­chio, Joburg­based Nadeem Mo­hamed, was chas­tised by Mag­is­trate An­na­malai af­ter it was found Mo­hamed had en­tered the hold­ing cells at the court with Mussa’s le­gal aid lawyer and spo­ken to the sus­pect dur­ing a re­cess.

This was a con­flict of in­ter­est, ac­cord­ing to Mag­is­trate An­na­malai, who said Mo­hamed should have known bet­ter and should’ve fol­lowed pro­to­col if he wanted to rep­re­sent Mussa.

Mo­hamed also rep­re­sented Pa­tel and her brother last year af­ter they were al­legedly found to be in pos­ses­sion of bul­lets and a stun gre­nade dur­ing a po­lice raid in 2016.

The Saun­ders, who were dual Bri­tish and South African pass­port hold­ers, went miss­ing be­tween Fe­bru­ary 10 and 15, at or near Bi­vane Dam in the Vry­heid area.

The ac­cused are due to ap­pear in court again on April 25 and 26. – African News Agency (ANA)

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