Mashatile’s VIP protection unit members back in court on Tuesday

The case against eight police officers attached to Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s VIP protection team has been postponed to Tuesday for a bail decision.

This after their defence teams attempted to have them attend trial out of custody.

On Thursday, day three of their appearance since they handed themselves over to the police at the Sandton police station on Sunday, defence lawyers told the court that their clients are law-abiding citizens.

The state prosecution revealed that there is a text message that was sent to one of the witnesses threatening them to not partake in the case.

Representing accused two to four, advocate Xabiso Sotshongaye said there is a lot of information that came from the state prosecution, however, they do not have tangible evidence now.

“It is unclear how long the state prosecution team will take to get the motorist who took the video of the alleged N1 highway assault incident. We were told that there is a witness but for some reason now they are afraid to come to court.

Our clients cannot be kept in custody pending the search of the motorist who recorded the video,” said Sotshongaye.

He further said one of his clients requires constant medical attention because he had been involved in a car accident recently.

Shadrack Kojoana, Matome Mampuru, Pomso Mofokeng, Madumetja Ramokhonami, Molefo Boshielo, Mpakamiseni Mkhize, Lesibana Rambau and Moses Tshidida – applied for bail saying they can only afford to pay R1 000 each.

Standing for accused five, six, seven and eight Advocate Fanie Kabini said the accused have been suspended and handed over their work firearm.

“I wish for the court to consider that the accused were cooperative enough to hand themselves over to the police because they know that they are not above the law.

“Their work firearms were taken as soon as they were suspended so, they do not have much power to influence anything.

“The state must present the text message that threatened the witness in a form of screenshot,” said Kabini.

Presiding magistrate Hleziphi Mkhasibe threw a question to the defence team if they do acknowledge that there were lying on the ground during the incident.

“Did you watch their video? Did you see one of the people there lying down helplessly, or you just want your clients out,” Mkhasibe asked.

Kabini replied: “I’ve seen the video; however, we were  informed that the occupants who were in the Polo Vivo were intoxicated and that is why they refused to alight the vehicle.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana said the state has placed all the necessary evidence, made arguments as to why the accused pose as a threat to witnesses and it is up to the court to decide.

“The state did not oppose bail on condition that the accused before court will not attend trial, the only reason is that they pose as a threat to witnesses.”


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