Two accused in Hillary Gardee’s murder making second attempts on their bail

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Philemon Lukhele, one of the accused in the Hillary Gardee murder, has told the Nelspruit Magistrate Court in Mpumalanga that his incarceration will cause him to lose all of his properties worth close to R7 million.

Lukhele and co-accused Sipho Mkhatshwa are making new bail applications. Mkhatshwa was denied bail last month, while Lukhele abandoned it. The new applications are based on new facts.

Philemon Lukhele took the witness stand in his bid to be freed on bail. His defence attorney, Lesego Kwakwa, cross-examined him. He told the court, he has been in the country for about 24 years, from Eswatini, his country of birth.

He came to South Africa as an asylum seeker and obtained permanent residence and is now in the process of naturalisation.

He also spoke about his current situation, after being arrested, saying he is failing to service payments on his three houses. The court was also told that he no longer has a stable income as he was suspended from work.

According to Kwakwa, the two accused opted to re-apply for bail based on new facts. He cited inconsistencies in the original charge sheet and the indictment as the main reasons for the new applications.

He said in the indictment that the rape charge has been removed, the date of the conspiracy to murder has been changed, and the place, where they allegedly committed the murder had also been changed.

“We want the magistrate to look at it and check if there won’t be a strategic shift in terms of the view of these offences. Initially, as well, there was this view that this murder was committed at number two Belladonna Street, the lodge of accused number two Lukhele, and that it was on the 3rd of April, but when you look at the indictment, it says the murder happened between the 3rd and the 30th of May. That’s not clear, that lacks clarity on its own.”

Lukhele, Mkhatshwa, Mduduzi Gama and Rassie Nkune face charges that include kidnapping, murder, defeating the ends of justice, and conspiracy to commit murder. They were arrested for allegedly killing Hillary Gardee, a few months ago.

The bail application against Lukhele has been postponed to Tuesday for further investigation, while Mkhatshwa’s application has been postponed to Monday.

Lawyer for 2 of the accused in the Hillary Gardee murder case explains new bail bid: