Baatjies accused seek to appoint new legal representatives
THE SIX men accused of murdering Danielskuil DA councillor Johannes Baatjies and a family friend, Jeffrey Nouse, intend bringing forward another bail application before their next court appearance.
The murder took place a day before Baatjies was to be inaugurated as a councillor at the Kgatelopele Municipality last year.
Baatjies and Nouse were apparently lured to a business meeting, before they were kidnapped and shot multiple times in the head and body.
The accused – Richard Hasane, Tshame Frank Baxane, Zonizelo Richard Magawu, Thompson Mncedisi Mphondomisa, Matthews Legodu and Paulus Mveleni Mgcera – were previously denied bail in the Postmasburg Magistrate’s Court in October and December last year.
The Northern Cape High Court also dismissed an appeal on the outcome of the bail hearings in January this year.
Three of the accused – Hasane, Baxane and Legodu – officially terminated the services of their attorney, Johan Vorster, in the Northern Cape High court yesterday.
They are in the process of appointing Larry Landon as their new legal representative.
The remaining accused – Magawu, Mphondomisa and Mgcera, who also terminated Vorster’s services during their last court appearance in June – are being represented by advocate Roger Kock from Johannesburg.
Kock advised that he would bring another bail application before court, on behalf of his clients, based on new facts.
He pointed out that the Postmasburg Magistrate’s Court was prepared to preside over the matter.
“However, according to the Criminal Procedures Act an accused who is referred to another court retains the jurisdiction of bail. Therefore the matter should be heard before the Northern Cape High Court.”
State advocate Hannes Cloete added that he had consulted with his colleagues within the National Prosecuting Authority as well as in the private sector to determine in which court the bail hearing should be heard.
“The lower court it is a one-man regional court, whereas the high court has more than one judge to hear the case. The State does not have any objection to the matter being referred back to the magistrate’s court as the presiding magistrate is familiar with the case and would be in a good position to determine if the new facts presented are relevant to the bail application. However, the Criminal Procedure Act states that a matter cannot be referred back to a court if it falls outside its jurisdiction.”
Acting Northern Cape High Court Judge Sharon Erasmus granted a postponement until August 21 and urged the accused to secure legal representation before their next court appearance.
She pointed out that the trial has been set down for November and December.
“If these court dates are not retained, the matter will have to be put down for next year. We want to prevent unnecessary delays.”
Erasmus advised legal counsel to approach the Northern Cape High Court Judge President to obtain direction regarding the bail application hearing.
She ordered that the accused remain in custody until their bail application has been finalised.