A bail application for one of the three men accused of murdering Hilary Gardy was adjourned by the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga until next week, Wednesday.
Sipho Mkhatshwa along with Philemon Lukhele and Mduduzi Gama are facing charges of murder, defeating the ends of justice and conspiracy to commit murder.
They were arrested after Gardi’s body was found in a timber plantation a few kilometers outside Mbombela in April.
Mkhatshwa’s lawyer, Sakhile Nkosi, urged the court to release his client on bail. He says the state has a weak case against Mkhathwa, Philemon Lukhele and Mduduzi Gama.
Nkosi claims the police arrested the wrong suspects. He told the court that police were under pressure to make the arrest because Gardee was the daughter of a politician.
“We know that Mr Gardy is a politician and there was political pressure on the police in the sense that Minister Becky Chele indicated they had 72 hours to arrest these people or the perpetrator. Unfortunately, the candidate finds himself in this position. Political pressure from the Minister of Police as well. This led to a miscarriage of justice.”
“Then I think their countries have gone too deep without properly investigating this issue. Now it is too late for them to back down because they feel they are in too deep and now they have to create stories and fabricate stories to bring the accused to justice. It is true that a civil suit is pending against them and I think they know that, that is why they want to remand the applicant in custody,” adds Nkosi.
“Not enough evidence”
Nkosi further claimed that there was insufficient evidence to link the suspects to the case. He said: “It is public knowledge that (Godrich) Gardy has applied to the High Court to transfer this investigation to the Hawks. Since then, their attempt to do so has been successful. It can just mean one thing, the investigation done by this team investigating this case is a disaster or failure. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the family to say that we are shifting this investigation to another team.
State prosecutor Nsika Mpolweni, however, is adamant that Mhatshwa and his co-accused have a case to answer.
“Can you ignore the evidence of the investigating officer which leads us to confront this complainant about confessions made to ordinary members of the public, after which he wanted to admit that he had a point.
“Not only did he confess, he also led police officers to a house that was flooded.
Could this also be a coincidence, and you come here and claim that there is no objective evidence before this court? No, you can’t.
A decision on the bail application will be made next week on Wednesday.
VIDEO: Hilary Gardy’s murder charged in Nelspruit Magistrates Court for bail application on Wednesday: