State stalling in highway robbery trial

THE MERCURY

Attorneys representing four of seven accused who appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in connection with a R1.8-million cash-in-transit heist on the M3, asked the court to set bail for their clients. They claim the bail hearing was delayed on several occasions because of the State’s negligence. Poyo Gobo, Tokiso Sithole, Zola Dadani, Lunga Luke and Vuyo Nyadaza faced charges of armed robbery. A traffic officer, James Mayston was also shot in the right arm during the incident. While driving to an accident scene on August 27, police unwittingly drove behind the alleged robbers and were fired upon. The seven suspects were arrested later in Ottery. Eight others were still at large. Co-accused Charles Sigabi abandoned his bail application, and a seventh accused, Gcinikhaya Makoma, will apply for bail at a later stage. In court on Thursday, it emerged that the prosecutor who prepared for the bail application, John Ryneveld, was ill and stat there was not enough time for another prosecutor to prepare for the hearing. In addition, the docket was not brought to court on Thursday. Attorney for Gobo, Luke and Nyadaza, Joshua Greeff, submitted that the stae did not have a valid excuse for a postponement. he said the accused would suffer “immense prejudice” if the bail application did not proceed. “We are not dealing with objects which have no feelings and families. The strain is on the accused,” he added. Defence advocate Andre Pienaar, who represented Dadani, said he did not agree with their argument, but asked the court to order the state to reveal how his client had been implicated in the case. He also asked for access to the docket. Magistrate Grobelaar said he did not agree that the state was negligent. He told Pienaar to bring the application for access to the docket at the next appearance. The hearing was postponed to October 9.