Mashatile protection unit members out on R10 000 bail each

Eight police officers attached to Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection unit have been granted R10 000 bail each.

The officers returned to the Randburg magistrate’s court on Tuesday for a decision on their bail application following submissions by their legal teams last week.

They face a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, among many other criminal charges, after they were filmed assaulting civilians on the N1 highway early in July.

Granting bail, presiding magistrate Hleziphi Mkhasibe ordered the officers to present themselves again on September 27, as the police continue with an investigation.

Mkhasibe said the state brought the case before court prematurely, saying the evidence presented by the state is insufficient.

She added that the state was against releasing the accused on bail because they might intimidate witnesses.

This after the court heard of a threatening message sent to one of the witnesses.

“One of the accused told this court that he was traumatised when he saw the video of the incident [highway assault], however, the state presented a weak case as it failed to link the message to any of the accused,” said Mkhasibe.

She said the state could also not provide the role of each accused in the crime.

“With the evidence before this court, it would be a travesty for me to refuse the accused bail. The state has a month to establish the owner of the burner number that sent threats to the witness,” she said.

“These charges are serious, so the judgment has to serve as a lesson, especially to those who occupy positions like the accused, to respect the rules of the road and all motorists.” 

Accused number one’s legal representative, advocate Mbhoni Mahlaule, said he allowed his client to take the stand because that carries more weight than giving an affidavit.

“That is a normal practice, it happens everywhere. If I were to say anything, putting your client on the stand carries more weight than an affidavit,” said Mahlaule.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana said the state is going to begin preparations for trial.

“We felt that we were ready, and we hold the view that the interest of justice dictated that we enrol the matter at the stage that we did,” said Mjonondwana.

“We had to set the wheels of justice in motion, however, we have no regrets.”


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