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Bail bid year after murder

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“Blood on the clothing of the deceased belonged to the deceased.”

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AFTER more than a year in custody waiting for his trial date, one of the two men who has been accused of murdering Michael Asnak in September last year, yesterday began a bail application on new facts.

Pescodia resident, Vernon Kok, is expected to return to the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Monday when the murder trial is scheduled to get underway.

In the interim, the 20-year-old accused hopes to be released from custody by the weekend should his schedule five bail application prove successful tomorrow.

Withdrawn

Kok, along with his co-accused, Thabang Brand, were arrested for the murder at the end of September 2017 and while charges against his co-accused were subsequently withdrawn, Kok has been in custody ever since.

In an affidavit, read into evidence by his legal representative, Etienne Mathewson, the accused pointed out that he had already spent more than 12 months in custody, waiting for his trial to commence, despite the fact that DNA analysis has been returned and that charges against Brand have been withdrawn.

He explained that when he was initially denied bail, the State had argued that blood found on clothes and a knife, believed to have been used in the murder, possibly belonged to Asnak, a claim Kok denied at the time.

He told the court yesterday that the DNA results confirmed his earlier claim.

Kok further explained that Brand had also spent nearly a year in custody, only to see the murder charge against him withdrawn after no witnesses arrived to give testimony in court during his last appearance on September 4 2018.

Kok requested that he be granted bail of R500.

The State then called the investigating officer, Sergeant Charles Gaboinewe, to testify.

Gaboinewe explained that the state had decided to withdraw the charge against Brand as evidence indicated that he had not used the knife on the day in question.

He further testified that while he had not been in court when the murder charge was withdrawn, he was aware of this development, adding that there was a chance that a charge of assault could still be brought against Brand.

He emphasised that the investigation was finished and that all relevant witnesses had been instructed to be in court for Monday’s trial.

Before the matter was postponed until tomorrow, in order for Gaboinewe to have the docket on hand, he stated that DNA tests had shown that blood found on some of the deceased’s clothing was indeed Asnak’s.

“I’m not aware of anyone who told the court that certain blood was from certain people,” he said in response to the State’s questions regarding the DNA results. “I sent the knife and blood for analysis to determine to whom the blood belonged.

“Blood on the clothing of the deceased belonged to the deceased.”