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State to challenge apartheid cop’s bail application

The appeal will be heard on May 16 at a high court sitting in Benoni.

The State has filed for leave to appeal the high court’s decision to allow Pieter Stander, one of four former apartheid-era security police officers, to be released on R350 000 bail.

This is after Judge Gerhardus Botha ordered that Stander’s passport be returned to him on April 30 for him to travel to Iraq, where he works as a private military contractor.
Botha further granted a request to have the trial postponed to November 18 to allow Stander’s lawyers to prepare his defence.

According to the application, the findings appealed against and the grounds of appeal are that it is not in the interest of justice to amend the conditions of the applicant’s release on bail.
The State also argues that the court incorrectly concluded that the applicant is not a flight risk.

“The counsel for accused four informed the honourable court that he was abandoning the application for the amendment of the warning conditions, including the return of his client’s passport.
“The learned acting judge erred in ordering Advocate West not to abandon the application, thereby, showing with respect outright interest in releasing the respondent’s passport.

“The learned acting judge erred in amending Stander’s conditions of bail, thereby, permitting Stander to depart from the Republic of South Africa pending the finalisation of the trial. The judge erred in finding that Stander is not a fight risk,” the application stated.

Stander and his three co-accused, Johan Marais, Leon Louis van den Berg and Abram Hercules Engelbrecht, are accused of murdering anti-apartheid student activist Caiphus Nyoka 37 years ago at his Daveyton home.
Nyoka, who was a prominent leader of the Congress of South African Students in Daveyton and the co-ordinator for Transco East Rand, was fatally shot on August 24, 1987, by members of a police unit allegedly established to “deal” with terrorism.

The accused face charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
The appeal will be heard on May 16.

Also Read: Judge agrees to postpone murder trial of four Apartheid cops

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