Hillary Gardee murder case transferred to High Court

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The Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga has transferred the Hillary Gardee murder case to the High Court for trial. This happened just after one of the suspects, Mduduzi Gama was denied bail.

Gama and his co-accused, Philemon Lukhele, Sipho Mkhatshwa and Rassie Nkune, face charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, rape, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

Mkhatshwa was also denied bail last month while Lukhele and Nkune abandoned their bail applications.

Handing down judgment on the bail application of Mduduzi Gama, Magistrate Patrick Morris said he failed to prove that it is in the interest of justice to release him on bail. Magistrate Morris further stated that Gama’s life would be in danger should he be granted bail.

“The applicant did not prove on the balance of probabilities that exist which is in the interest of justice permitting his release. The court also took into consideration that the life of applicant is going to be in danger if the court grants him bail. House number two Belladonna Street was set alight after the arrest of accused number two and this applicant. The legal representative placed on record that they were threatened, so the court is of the view that the bail must be refused,” says Magistrate Morris.

The Magistrate believes that the state has a strong case against Gama.

“Now the applicant told this court that he suffers from hypertension since his incarceration but he never submitted any medical proof. And he also mentions on record that he received medical treatment in prison and his hypertension is under control. Now according to this court, this reason by the applicant does not constitute exceptional circumstances. The court is off the view that the state has a strong case against the accused.”

After the bail judgment, all accused appeared before Magistrate Morris at the same time. State prosecutor, Thobeka Phungula confirmed that the defence has been furnished with the indictment.

“Further the state has served the accused and that is in respect of all the four accused. That was done this morning and the state is in position of the return of service in that regard. The application is for the mutter to be transferred to the High Court,” says Phungula.

But one of the legal representatives, Nqobizitha Mlilo claims the indictment is flawed.

“We’ve just been given a copy of the indictment which does not contain a summary of facts. What are we being charged with? This thing says nothing. The 6th of May your worship we have been asking what did our clients do. I have been with this matter since the 6th of May and I don’t know. If someone is charged with robbery for instance, giving you an example, everyone, police say they saw a woman with a bag coming out of the bank got into their car, they followed that person, they robbed them and they were caught at the roadblock. It’s a sense of what happened, the charges here how do they connect with each other? What do you think that our client did? With respect, gross injustice is happening here,” Mlilo lamented.

The four suspects will appear in the Mpumalanga High Court in Mbombela on the 11th of April next year for trial. They are all kept in custody.